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Defending the right of United States citizens to buy semiautomatic rifles or carry concealed weapons is akin to denying any human responsibility for climate change.Collective identities have a history, of course.If this is the core of many Americans' identity, it points to an odd contradiction in their national self-image.It is based on laws – the only way a people from so many different cultural backgrounds could be bound together in a common enterprise.At the same time, however, many Americans cherish national myths, no less foundational in their way, which are in direct opposition to the idea of a nation of laws.In many ways, Trump has managed to combine the habits of a desperado with the interests of the men dressed in black suits, the corporate leaders, the bankers and their political representatives in Washington.If the U.S. is riven by an escalating culture war over its national identity, Trump has the uncanny ability of personifying the worst aspects of both sides of the divide: the lawlessness of the gunslinger and the rapaciousness of the city slicker.To overcome the dangerous fissures that are tearing its society apart, the U.S. must find a president who can bridge the cultural divide.
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