Tea Party and the Right  
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The Rise of the New Confederacy: How America-Hating Right-Wingers Took Over the GOP

The rhetoric of Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry about the “real America” is not imagined: They and those who oppose them live in different Americas.

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Spiritual secession isn’t the same as actual secession, and we are a world away from the 1860s. But Rick Perry’s toying with the idea wasn’t exactly a gaffe. It briefly brought to light a certain disquiet that we aren’t prepared to talk about openly, and raised questions that are too painful to confront. A house divided against itself cannot stand, as Lincoln said. But what if the divisions are just too deep and wide to bridge? What if the common ground for compromise simply does not exist? What if the last best hope of earth cannot long endure, after all?

God help us, indeed.

Theo Anderson, a former In These Times editorial intern, has a Ph.D. in American history from Yale University and teaches seminars at Chicago's Newberry Library.