Below are some excerpts from my book Defusing American Anger about specific topics and issues pertaining to our divides. One of the main points of my book is that issues are less important than we tend to think they are: not to say that there aren't important issues, but just that the nature of toxic polarization will tend to play out in similar ways, regardless of the issues involved. It is our us-vs-them animosity and contempt that drives our divides, just as it drives most conflict throughout history and in the many polarized countries in the world today.
But, of course, there are issues that do divide us. Many of us do see great harms being done by "the other side": many of us are angry and scared. So if we want to reduce toxic polarization, we must be willing to talk about those issues: specifically, we must be willing to examine how our views of people on "the other side" may be distorted in various ways. The analysis of topics is far from complete, but it will hopefully serve to show some people a few aspects of "the other side" and our divides that they hadn't considered much before.