A Nation Coming Apart

Mariner finds this letter to subscribers a very important and astute perspective of the state of the nation at this point in history. There are so many imminent, huge shifts in every aspect of the world’s situation. The US is vulnerable to life changing circumstances that may end the nation as we know it.

This topic is carried out in detail in the forthcoming The Atlantic Magazine.

This is not an advertisement but a tribute to the goals of a first class magazine.


A Nation Coming Apart

Jeffrey Goldberg

Editor in Chief, The Atlantic

The 45th president of the United States is uniquely unfit for office and poses a multifaceted threat to our country’s democratic institutions. Yet he might not represent the most severe challenge facing our country. The structural failures in our democratic system that allowed a grifter into the White House in the first place—this might be our gravest challenge. Or perhaps it is the tribalization of our politics, brought about by pathological levels of inequality, technological and demographic upheaval, and the tenacious persistence of racism. Or maybe it is that we as a people no longer seem to know who we are or what our common purpose is.

This dispiriting moment was the backdrop, and the impetus, for The Atlantic’s new special issue, what we have called “How to Stop a Civil War.” We don’t believe that conditions in the United States today resemble those of 1850s America. But we worry that the ties that bind us are fraying at alarming speed—we are becoming contemptuous of each other in ways that are both dire and possibly irreversible.

By edict of our founders, The Atlantic is meant to be the magazine of the American idea. In November 1857, when our first issue was published, the American idea was besieged by the forces of slavery. The Atlantic, then as now, stood for American unity, but it also stood for the idea that America is by its nature both imperfect and ultimately perfectible. The untiring pursuit of a more perfect union is at the core of the American idea.

When I discussed the notion of this issue with the editors of our print magazine, we reached the conclusion that any Atlantic journalism confronting questions of American unity and fracture would have to be both analytical and prescriptive, and would require the services of some of America’s best writers and thinkers.

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In addition to the printed magazine, see: https://www.theatlantic.com/

If one could move out to space far enough and could unfold the planet into some kind of Mercator map, the colors of war, dissent, economic instability, cultural decline and global warming would obscure the continents and the oceans with the tumultuous colors of an explosion.

Indeed these are not normal times; the scope is hard to document in daily news. One characteristic of the Internet is that nations aren’t really isolated by distance or geography. What happens in the many places of the globe immediately affects the many places of the globe.

At the moment, the United States suffers the incompetence of a president who is no more than a symptom of deep-rooted conflict that has quickly eroded the essence of Americanism – so much so, it may not be reparable in its traditional perception.

In the US, we must stop focusing on hoarding pennies and elitism and turn our focus to the horizon. Consider the planet similar to the California and Australian fires; except that it is not forests being destroyed, it is humanity.

The black plague from 1347 to 1351, just 4 years, killed over 20 million people and changed society in the western world. This is a similar time – a global crisis that so far has not drawn together a global team that can avoid disaster. Many nations prefer to contribute to the mayhem with parochial, destructive priorities that are irrelevant to the future of the human species.

Ancient Mariner

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