By pursuing conversations with people about urban legends, conspiracy theories, and the nuttier political and social myths that pervade our culture, I've learned something about people: Our media-fueled "culture war" is in many ways an illusion.
Instead of ignoring posts and comments as your blood boils with disagreement, I propose we change the state of political discourse online. After all, we are all debating for a common cause: the well-being of our nation and the citizens who reside within it.
We live in a world that too often values conflict over solutions, and loud voices over wise ones. Avoiding the mistakes described below may not only make you more effective, but help make our public discourse more civil and productive.
September 11 was not only a trauma but, as with any crisis of identity, an opportunity for greater maturity. This would require serious reappraisal of the national project, beginning with the lure of self-mythology itself.