Our Divided Political Heart

Author: E.J. Dionne Jr

Although a bit too long and at times a bit too rambling and repetitive, “Our Divided Political Heart” by E.J. Dionne Jr. provides an interesting historical perspective of American politics.  Focused primarily on the dichotomy of  individualism and community, it is an interesting walk through the pulls and tugs of these essential American aspirations.

As Mr. Dionne points out, in these turbulent, dysfunctional and polarized times, those on the outer edges of the polarization are waging a battle of supremacy over individualism and community.  However, as he also points out, the battle may not be framed correctly when viewed through the prism of our country’s history.  He particularly takes conservatives to task for not following their intellectual roots.

I do not have a sufficient understanding of the many historical events analyzed throughout to determine whether or not they are given fair and accurate treatment.  They are, nevertheless, very interesting explanations of the tensions between individualism and community and how important issues have been resolved.

Among other things, the book confirms that there will always be an inherent, yet hopefully healthy, tension in our political system.  Problems arise when there is failure to seek and find compromise.  To that end, there is also an element of effective leadership that could have used more attention.

As many authors with liberal/left/communal leanings are wont to do of late, I think Mr. Dionne is overly critical of the Tea Party and conservatives in current times; while being understandably yet unfortunately sympathetic to his own side of the ledger.

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