I think you’re really spot on. Nature loves diversity (and we are part of Her, whether we believe it or not), and part of our diversity includes those who want to preserve the way things are and those who want to usher in change. Both approaches are necessary, and in a healthy society, they would find a kind of balance.
But as you pointed out, we’ve got such an individualistic culture, it’s hard to find the healthy balance. I think the two-party system only makes things worse. I think if we had more parties, with proportional representation in Congress, things wouldn’t have to be so polarized. People would feel like they could find a party or candidate that actually represents them, and politicians would have to learn to work together and form coalitions to get things done.
Ah, but “coulda, shoulda, woulda” won’t help. We’ve got some pretty major crises bearing down on us, and we’ve got to “hang together, or surely we will hang separately.”