If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the divisions between us are gaping enough that if not tended to they risk threatening our union. Generations from now historians will write about how, in our time, we either saved America or failed to do so.
Beginning January 2021 — continuing through the spring — The Village Square, in partnership with Florida Humanities, will host a digital series of programs, “A Citizen’s guide to Healing America,” addressing the fault lines in our democratic system and empowering individual citizens to understand and address the challenges ahead — whether that’s as a voter or in healing divisions in your family. We’ll meet national heroes from both sides of the aisle devoted to healing the divide, offer up an intimate “backstage” look at navigating the divide in the U.S. Congress with two former representatives (and friends), and inspire you (we hope) with brave and unlikely friendships that endure — and even thrive — in disagreement. And we’ll be just getting started with our series.
“And Then We Shall Save Our Country” is an excerpt from Lincoln’s annual address to Congress in 1862, when the country was in the grips of civil war. Here is more of the text:
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
We challenge our fellow citizens to rise with the occasion. We’ll be offering up some fuel for that rise all winter and spring. Join us. While this task ahead can feel daunting, Churchill offered up some inspiration from across the pond during WWII:
“We ought to rejoice at the responsibilities with which destiny has honored us and be proud that we are guardians of our country in an age in which her life is at stake.”
The Reunited States looks unflinchingly at the deepest divisions that haunt today’s America — through the eyes of unsung heroes working to bridge these differences — and imagines a day when we can embrace our differences and really hear and see each other. We’ll be joined by the author who inspired the film, the filmmaker and three heroes.
A Divided Union delves into ten pressing political challenges that our two favorite former US Representatives Patrick Murphy and David Jolly (who served on opposite sides of the aisle) have identified over their multiple terms in Congress and that continue to plague the American electorate today.
In divided times like ours and through history, brave and unlikely friendships have endured, inspired and redeemed. You’ll get to meet some pairs of friends who not only manage their disagreements, they embrace them.