The past year in US politics has been full of more alienation and polarization than at any time since 1861, all of it now capped off in the Arizona shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. As in 1861, today's divide has opened up over a single deep question. But this fundamental collision of values doesn't mean violence is inevitable.
The Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, is reinstating Confederate History Month. But that brings back ideas and symbols of the Old South that are offensive to many Americans – including many Southerners.