America has worked well on the whole because we have faced such times for choosing only rarely. Our divided political heart inclines us to resist such moments. The American experiment from the beginning recognized both sides of our character, and successful American politicians understood with Tocqueville that we are a nation of private striving and public engagement, of rights and responsibilities. Americans understood that individualism needed to be protected from concentrated power in both the private marketplace and the government. They also understood that individuality seeks expression in communal acts as well as individual deeds and that the self longs for autonomy but also freely embraces the encumbrances and responsibilities of family, friendship, community, and country.
~ E.J Dionne, Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent
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