For most of 2010 through 2012, I was trying to figure out answers to these questions: Why are the American people so divided, and hostile to one another? How will we meet the many challenges we face when there is conflict among the people and gridlock in Washington?
In today’s America, 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. marched on Washington and 150 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, America faces profound divisions along political, economic and cultural lines that threaten to destabilize our nation and democracy.
America - the nation of the people, for the people and by the people - is deeply divided. The divisions are political, economic and cultural. The result is economic decline and governmental dysfunction. Moreover, the people are growing hopeless and cynical, losing faith in America's ideals.
Opinions have polarized to the point that people along both sides of the divide view the opposition with a great deal of fear and paranoia, leading to alienation and a dehumanizing view of those who don’t share our beliefs.
The Story of America is a unique project to both document the story of our divided nation in 2013, and engage those with the power to heal these divisions - the people - in the transforming power of storytelling and dialogue.
We are focusing particular attention to the Moral Monday movement and the political struggle in North Carolina for the feature documentary. The fight here involves many fundamental divisions in America including election laws/voting rights, influence of money in politics, the role of government in our lives, racial divisions, demographic shifts, and economic policies/income inequality.
We invite viewers to submit their own statements, responses, and stories in the form of essays, videos, and photos. These submissions will be uploaded to the website, and, we anticipate that some of the clips will be included in the feature documentary.
Author Joy Boothe and I felt that this short story about love and racism in America would be a fitting way to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King on his actual birthday. 11 years younger than Nelson Mandela, Dr. King would by 85 today.Read more
Eric Byler and I have been traveling around America with the goal of trying to understand why Washington is so gridlocked and the people apparently divided 50 years after the March on Washington. In Alabama, we encountered some dramatic expressions of that division. We also found people showing great leadership and working towards reconciliation such as Chief Kevin Murphy, the Montgomery Police Chief.