What We’re Reading: Polarization and Powerful Personalities

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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Why We’re Polarized By Ezra Klein The day after a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol to try to obstruct the certification of a democratic election, GPF’s founder and chairman wrote: “I long for a lost world in which reasonable people could disagree over politics and still be friends. Donald Trump did not rip friendships apart. We did that to ourselves.” He, like many of us, was grasping for answers to the most important questions facing America today: How did we get here? And how do we get back? A year ago, U.S. journalist Ezra Klein’s first book, “Why We’re Polarized,” was published. Its prescriptions will rankle conservatives (let’s just say the filibuster is discussed), but its diagnosis has been criticized from both sides – from the right for being too left, and from the left for being too right – which is often a good sign. Overall, it seemed to me a sincere, thoughtful effort to answer the questions posed above. Klein agrees that our polarization didn’t start with Trump, nor with social media, Barack Obama, Mitch McConnell, Citizens United, the Great Recession, Fox News and talk radio, Newt Gingrich, or neoliberalism. It started with the civil rights movement. […]

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Ryan Bridges
Ryan Bridges is an editor with Geopolitical Futures, having spent years both editing and writing geopolitical articles. He joined Geopolitical Futures in 2017 and spent over a year as a geopolitical analyst writing on Europe and focusing on issues relating to the European Union. His expertise as an editor was in high demand so he recently made the change back to editing rather than analyzing. Prior to Geopolitical Futures Mr. Bridges worked for seven years as an editor at Stratfor. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, where he studied political science with a minor in philosophy. Mr. Bridges lives and works from Germany and also travels extensively in the region. He speaks some German.
Zachary Knuth
Zachary Knuth is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. He brings a global perspective and interdisciplinary knowledge that draws from his work in philosophy, sociology, community development, religion and history. He spent four years living in China, complimenting time spent in Mexico, Jordan, Israel, Thailand and Japan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Covenant College. He is a certified English teacher and conversant in Mandarin.