As we prepare for a presidential election and think deeply about the direction of our country in light of current events, it seemed important to watch America Divided.
The first installment laid out in compelling fashion some of the significant challenges facing our country, while also echoing a refrain of hope. In recording these thoughts, I reflected on the concept of “hope,” which played so prominent a role in the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, yet seems today to have lost its inspiring hold on our collective imaginations. Still, I found the stories in episode one to reflect a resiliency that does more than just stand against despair. Although imbued with conflict and clear evidence of our society’s failures, they nevertheless inspired hope.
Shock, shame, and hard truths surely called out to me as I watched. The absence of equity and justice, the intentional infliction of harm – emotional and physical — and the overbearing presence of disdain for fellow human beings, because of their race and social class, were deftly juxtaposed with strains of commitment, vitality, and an enduring belief in the power within each of us to stand for what is right and to make a change for the better.
This program offered a highly concentrated dose of reality; a searing reality that should prompt every viewer to re-commit to the shared work of addressing systemic problems, supporting communities, improving all lives, advancing equity and fairness, and strengthening our democracy.
America Divided – made possible through the support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The JPB Foundation – asks us to take another look at our country and the consequences of our actions. I was proud that representatives of our sector played such a vital role in the shedding of light on stark and undeniable truths. I was moved by the signs of hope I saw in collective action to influence change. I was profoundly touched by the young boy who found deep happiness, and felt himself to be the “king of the world,” simply because he knew he was loved by the father just returned from prison.
When all is said and done, it is our humanity and the belief in such small, but consequential, victories that must drive us forward and compel us to remain hopeful about the future.
I look forward to episode two…
Catch America Divided on Friday nights at 9 pm EDT/8 pm CDT on EPIX or EPIX.com.