In the “American Tapestry: We Tell Ourselves Stories”, Andrew Roth explores the post-1968 shattering of the American story by asking “What is the ‘story of America’? Is there such a thing? Is there only one story, or are there many stories? If there are many stories, how are they woven, can they be woven, together to tell the story of America?”
Ep 4 - Freedom’s Faultlines: Tales of Race & Gender
Freedom’s Fault Lines: Tales of Race and Gender explores the stories of race (black, brown, red and white) in America and women’s quest for full citizenship. From Jamestown 1619 to the Naturalization Act of 1790 limiting citizenship to “any…free white person” to The Trail of Tears to the Civil War; from The Lost Cause, Jim Crow, the Klu Klux Klan and the Civil Rights Movement of the middle-twentieth century to Steve Bannon and Breitbart News to Black Lives Matter and the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians changing their names; from Abigail Adams request that the founders “remember the ladies” to Seneca Falls to the 19th Amendment and Second Wave Feminism and Hilary Clinton winning the presidential popular vote by almost three million votes – it’s all here: Freedom’s Faultlines: Stories of Race and Genderas Americans continually struggled with one another about who was excluded, who was included in “We the People…”
Ep 3 - Freedom at Home & Abroad
What is the story of American freedom? What is the paradox at its heart vexing us from the start and into tomorrow? How many ways has it been defined? Who did the defining? Who did it include; who did it exclude? What does freedom mean? What does liberty mean? What is the American Creed and what truths did Franklin – yes, Franklin, not Jefferson – say were “self-evident”? What is Lincoln’s government “of the people, by the people, for the people”? What is American exceptionalism? American universalism? And why did Thomas Paine say “We have it to begin the world anew”. What does it mean to be “as a City Upon a Hill”? What is Manifest Destiny? Why did American’s think it their moral duty to make the world safe for democracy, to be evangelists for democracy, freedom and liberty? What are FDR’s Four Freedoms?
The story of American Freedom at Home & Abroad abounds with fundamental questions and unforgettable characters as Americans continue to answer Crevecoeur’s ‘What is this American’?
Ep 2 - “We Tell Ourselves Stories”
Why are stories important? Humans seek meaning by asking questions. Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? Humans are also storytellers. Asking questions and telling stories in reply are how humans make sense of their experience. As Joan Didion said, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live”.
The American Tapestry Project explores Americans; sense making and story-telling as they negotiate the passage to now since 1968, when Smithsonian magazine said “America shattered”. What shattered? The American story, or the consensus that there ever was such a thing. If the story shattered, so too did the culture. The ensuing culture wars so famously declared by Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican Convention contest whose story will define the culture, who will define freedom at home and abroad; who will define freedom’s Fault lines; who will define the American dream; who will define the immigrant’s tale; who will decide who is excluded, who is included in “We the People…”
Ep 1 - Prelude: America in 1968
If 1968 was the year of ‘the far side of the moon & the birth of the culture wars’, it was also the year, according to Smithsonian magazine, “The American Story” shattered. This first of a multi-part series The American Tapestry Project about America’s tribal tales & culture wars anchors the series in “The ‘60s” shattering of American norms: post-1968’s politics as angry theater, identarian politics (Black Power, Women’s Liberation, Chicano, Asian & Gay Rights), the libertarian sexual revolution, New Age Religion, the counter-culture and a music drenched, media saturated society in search of itself. 1968 – the year some call the worst year in modern American history – suffered political assassinations, riots in the streets, women on the march for equality, the War in Vietnam, the Poor Peoples Campaign, the full blooming of the sexual revolution, the counterculture’s “turn on, tune in, drop out” and music, music, music. As they say on Madison Avenue, ‘all this and more’!