In Jonathan Haidt’s TED talk, “How common threats can make common political ground,” he mentions an influential New York Times article about how people with college degrees are more likely to get and stay married compared with those without college degrees.
At about 15:20 in the talk, Haidt says: “We are becoming a nation of just two classes.”
And I got to thinking about that phrase, “become a nation of…” It puts the reader at the moment of a transition from an assumed past to a specified future. A Google Books search reveals that we have become a nation of many things over the years:
1905: becoming a nation of dreamers, and then, in the next sentence, becoming a nation of money lovers and materialists.
1969: becoming a nation of two societies— one white and one black— separate and unequal. (from this awesome issue of Ebony:)
2008: becoming a nation of joiners.
2008: becoming a nation of orthorexics (people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating)