Some Americans have reacted to these many forms of dislocation by turning on their perceived adversaries in an increasingly cutthroat social and economic contest. Racism and gender discrimination persist and are even intensified. Indeed, the progress toward racial equality achieved in an earlier era has in many ways reversed. White supremacist violence is on the rise – often encouraged, rather than prevented, by white authorities. Tensions flare continually and conflict often turns bloody, while trust in law enforcement deteriorates with each successive clash. Massive new waves of immigrants – bringing to America ideas and religious beliefs thought to be strange and threatening – are met with hate and violence. Nativism is common and considered by any to be culturally acceptable and even patriotic. Support for restricting, and even halting, immigration from certain countries and from groups with alien political or religious views is growing. The number of immigrants entering the country illegally soars. Meanwhile, ideologically motivated terrorists ignite a backlash against all immigrants, including crackdown by law enforcement, nationwide raids sponsored by the attorney general, and threats to civil liberties. In greater numbers than ever before. Americans seem to have stopped believing that we are all in this together.
From “The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again” by Robert D. Putnam