The year 2020 pitilessly exposed America’s underlying conditions–discredited elites, a polarized public, weakened institutions, blatant inequalities–and how difficult they are to remedy. George Packer traces the shocks back to their sources. He explores the four narratives that now dominate American life: Free America, which imagines a nation of separate individuals and serves the interests of corporations and the wealthy; Smart America, the worldview of Silicon Valley and the professional elite; Real America, the white Christian nationalism of the heartland; and Just America, which sees citizens as members of identity groups that inflict or suffer oppression. None of these narratives can sustain a democracy. To point a more hopeful way forward, Packer looks for a common national identity and articulates the elements of a new narrative: Equal America.
28 Apr 22