It is not guns or religion or taxes that actually ignite revolutions and social upheaval. It is access to information. This is particularly true when the information is filtered and politically oriented.
The American Revolution in the 1700s would not have occurred if not for (1) the invention of the printing press and (2) the fact that at the time the American colonies had the highest literacy rates in history. In other words, they had access to mass information and it pissed them off enough to fight.
For the same reasons, the "Arab Spring" would not have occurred if not for Facebook and Twitter. Again, they had access to mass information and got pissed enough to revolt.
A recent Wall Street Journal article effectively demonstrates how mass information, mixed with confirmation bias and "relevance" filters are working to spread mass disinformation to both political tribes. As a result, both tribes are abandoning a truly reason based discourse in exchange for name calling and labeling.
It is clear that we can't count on our political leaders to lead, so if we are to fix this we must do it ourselves.
We need to:
1) recognize the problem
2) allow people to express their opinions without labeling them or mischaracterizing their views
3) attack ideas and information with better ideas and more accurate information
P.S. Be excellent to each other.