"Theoretically of course, no one intended for the Great Unraveling. The concept was that one side could express its scorn, its hate, its disgust on any number of issues and that the other side was supposed to merely nod their heads and accept it as a "freedom of expression" (Heavens, how they loved that term!). The fact that it went across every sort of belief was something that seemed invisible to practically everyone.
The reality of this "freedom of expression" - like any freedom - is that like an act, it has consequences that can go rather awry from the intended target. When the words leave our mouth, we have no control over what they mean to others. When the action is taken, we have no control over how others view it - or how it is used by others, over and over, in a media-saturated society (Note to self: explain "Media-saturated"). As the 20th Century author Ayn Rand said, "You can choose your actions, but you cannot choose the consequences of your actions."
The rather unfortunate outcome of all of this "Freedom" was the slow growth of cracks in the body politic, initially the minor cracks in stone which are scarcely visible until one day, the entire fact snaps off and breaks. The words and actions had very little to do with bringing people together - in spite of the intent - and great deal to do with driving people apart.
It is not that there were any major outbreaks of civil disobedience or civil war (See references to 16th and 17th century and 19-21st Century uprisings). But what did happen was that people began simply not talking to others at all that did not share their views or conceptions. The was a general drawing apart, like cracks in the bottom of a lake bed that continue to grow as the sun bakes it.
In the end it took very little for everything to Unravel. So many had been patiently picking away at the ties that bound them together. Perhaps the only surprise was how shocked these expressers of freedom and unravelers of threads were when things actually did come apart. Of all involved, they ended being the least ready for the outcome of their labors. The monster had finally returned home, but they scarcely recognized it as a product of themselves."
- A History of the North American Continent, 2000-2100