This op-ed by State Policy Network’s Erin Norman was first published at Governing.
Everyone knows America is hopelessly divided on politics. An August Economist/YouGov poll says that two in five Americans believe another civil war is likely in the next decade. Two-thirds of voters say the country has become more politically divided since the beginning of 2021, and similar numbers see it getting worse. A CBS News/YouGov poll found that 64 percent believe there will be an increase in political violence in the next few years. If you aren’t a numbers person, there are pictures worth thousands of words from outside the Supreme Court after the Dobbsdecision, along with nonstop opinion coverage from cable news networks on both sides of the political aisle.
But most of the attention paid to the divided nature of the American public is based on political ideas and policy emanating from Washington, not the underlying values that bond us together. Even with common values, there are distinctive regional characteristics and strengths that make states, and by extension their local governments, uniquely able to address the needs of the people.
On these values, Americans are unified, despite the narrative our media portrays.
Read the full piece at Governing here.