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Charlotte Talks: How To Heal A Divided Nation

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Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020

In the wake of perhaps the most contentious election in recent memory, many experts argue America has never been more divided.

Surveys show a growing lack of trust in the federal government, the media and other Americans. Perhaps as a result, activists, poll watchers and even armed militias prepared to take action should the election be contested.

Part of the problem is that identity has become so deeply tied to our politics. One study found “Republicans estimate that 32 percent of Democrats are LGBT when in reality it is 6 percent; Democrats estimate that 38 percent of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year when in reality it is 2 percent.”

On the other hand, some experts argue the politics of the United States have been divisive since its founding, from the royalists and the patriots of the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, anti-war protests, immigration, abortion, the Supreme Court, etc. In one sense, when haven’t we been divided?

We sit down with the analysts and leaders working to answer the question: Can Americans be reunited?

Guests

Cynthia Wang, professor and executive director of Northwestern University’s Kellogg Dispute Resolution and Research Center

Keith Allred, executive director at the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona

Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Columbia Journalism School Ph.D. program

Jesse Steinmetz is Assistant Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.

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