A couple of years ago, Prof. Michael Vlahos, who teaches strategy and war at Johns Hopkins, published an essay here in TAC talking about how America has often been a place of cold civil war, despite the official story of national unity (minus the Late Unpleasantness of 1861-65). He wrote in the piece that we were headed for a new civil war, and explained his thinking. In talking about the stages of a country headed to civil war, he mentioned this:
Othering. Here, the barren and inhospitable new civic space is dominated along looming, fortified lines. Warring identities have concluded that the only solution is the complete submission of the enemy party, and both sides are beginning to prepare for an ultimate showdown. Othering is a transforming process, through which former kin are reimagined as evil, an American inner-enemy, who once defeated must be punished. The most familiar metaphor of American othering was the 1770s practice of tarring and feathering. This less-than-lethal mob punishment corresponds—in shaming power and severity—to mob vengeance pervasive today on social media outlets such as Twitter.
More @ TAC