Excellent article, one of your best. I've lived in a rural (mountain) area for the last several years, but the majority of my life has been spent in or near cities (and, therefore, suburbs). I think your characterizations are right on: neither side really recognizes the existence of the other nor has any interest in the other's ideology or lifestyle. (Trump may have changed that somewhat by replacing indifference with hatred. Don't know which is worse.)
Since America loves to blame, I suppose mine would go to the Democrats. Not because they are the worst (they are certainly less violent and more inclusive than Republicans), but because they are in the best position to bridge the gap but make no effort whatsoever to do so. It looks to me like Biden recognizes the gap and its importance (which is why he went to Detroit), but even if I am right about that (it happens occasionally), he is the black sheep in his own party.
There was a time when I thought the progressives, even the crazies among them, would crack the Democratic icicle, thus allowing for new thought and direction. But they have failed (or never really cared), wasting their energy on issues about which most Americans (and certainly rural America) don't care about.
The solution? I don't know. Dumping the present political parties in favor of new ones (dominated by the young rather than the elderly) might help, but it won't happen because the keepers of the present system will not let go of their cash cow. The idea of breaking up the country by red and blue has a surface attraction, but that remedy would leave the same crooked people in charge and people would simply sink deeper into their ideological bubble. Civil war? I think the idea is a joke because so few Americans would have the courage to back up their threats if it came to that. Besides, the last civil war changed nothing. A theocracy? The people who advocate such a state have been the ones who, more than anyone, have demonstrated separation, advocated violence, and belittled the unbelievers. They cannot even bring us closer to God, much less each other. And just talking does no good because we all now speak different (political) languages.
My own (perhaps anemic) suggestion is two years mandatory service in either the armed services or Peace Corp-type work in this country. This to be completed before they enter into a job or profession. And the key to success of such a program (i.e., bridging the demographic and racial gap), would be the assignment to areas outside each person's home area in units that were racially and sexually mixed.
It is very difficult to hang on to hatred of a person whom you have slept with, eaten with, and maybe fought with for two years.