Abraham Lincoln quote scripture when he warned that the slavery debate imperiled America. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." At the time, a couple of years before the Civil War, Lincoln wrongly assumed the union wouldn't fracture. He got that one wrong. America, north and south, had to fight the most bloody war in its history to preserve the union.
Fast forward about a hundred and fifty years. Now it's Condoleeza Rice, former Bush national security advisor and secretary of state, echoing Lincoln's warning.
"We are a country divided," the Stanford University Professor told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on his show GPS.
"We are a country that has lost a sense of common purpose. We've lost the sense of common narrative, and no country can hold together without that -- but particularly one like the United States, in which we're not united by ethnicity or nationality or religion," she added.
Rice argued that what traditionally unites US citizens, regardless of social class, ethnicity or religion, is a singular aspiration: "You can come from humble circumstances and do great things."