The story of America is the biggest, boldest idea in human history writ large and offered for almost 250 years to its citizens, and as a beacon to the world. It’s also a story of some of its most central ideals – equality, liberty, free speech, still straining to be realized. And our country’s story is also the story of the founding sin of slavery, a legacy that still lives – squarely in the events of our time.
Through this season of Dinner at the Square, we’ll both celebrate the greatness of the ideals our country was founded on and ask ourselves how we can better live into them.
After this last year of deep, heart-wrenching division across race, religion and political perspective – division that seems too often to create civic dialogue that finds the worst in us instead of calling our better angels – we think this is a conversation for our time, a checking back to consider how well we are hewing to the ideals of America, and perhaps a renewed promise to get there.
As bad manners and ill-tempers replace conversations of substance, sometimes free speech seems to have simply gone to seed. Meanwhile, as college students debate micro-aggressions, and a bad choice of words can tank your career, we seem to be in a societal-wide spitting match about just who is the most tediously offended.
Have we gone too far with insuring equality or not far enough? In "Created Equal + Breathing Free," we'll examine the straining of the central - and sometimes competing - principles of equality and freedom. Does your freedom threaten my equality? And does my equality limit your freedom?
In a live audience taping of The Thomas Jefferson Hour, we looked through the eyes of the author of the Declaration of Independence and marked our progress toward a more perfect union. We considered what both Mr. Jefferson and those of us charged with perfecting America today might think is yet to achieve.