Kathryn Lewandowsky, right, and Armen, left, a member of the UW College Republicans, speak during the 'Cancel Kavanaugh - We Believe Survivors' march and rally on Thursday, October 4, 2018, at Westlake Park in Seattle.
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Kathryn Lewandowsky, right, and Armen, left, a member of the UW College Republicans, speak during the 'Cancel Kavanaugh - We Believe Survivors' march and rally on Thursday, October 4, 2018, at Westlake Park in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Identity politics, human dignity and the trouble with Trump

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It is often noted these days that we live in a polarized society. Research bears that out.

A recent study by Michigan State University found that the divide between Democrats and Republicans is “the worst it’s ever been.”

The effect of this political chasm isn’t just higher decibel political debate, or on the contrary, a lack of meaningful debate. The divide threatens political institutions and makes social and economic progress less likely.

But what if there’s a deeper problem? What if what’s causing our national divide is a more general, personal fragmentation?

Political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s latest book is “Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment.” In it, he explores the impact of “identity politics” and the importance of individual human dignity.

He searches for ways to address an ever-widening divide that threatens our democracy itself. His recommendations include more successful assimilation of immigrants, required national service and better civics instruction.

Fukuyama is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies. He spoke at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium on November 14 as part of Town Hall Seattle’s Civics series. KUOW’s Sonya Harris recorded his talk.

Please note: This recording contains one unedited word of an adult nature.

Listen to the full version below:

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