Searching for the Soul of America.

 

Hello and welcome to my current project, Searching for the Soul of America.

This project has several moving parts.

The first phase of this project was an exploratory journey in which I traveled the length and breadth of America.

I traveled the country, mostly by train, for 45 days. During that time, I logged over 15,000 miles and spoke with many people of all classes, races and interests.

nola urban (2 of 6)

My intent in taking this tip was to take the pulse of America. To travel to all areas of the country and report back, via word and image, concurrently examining what ails our nation while also documenting those people and places that make America such a unique place.

I’ve now completed that journey, but you can relive those adventures through the travelogue found at the Searching For The Soul Of America Website.

The next phase of this project will consist of reflecting upon what I’ve learned through my travels. I’ll be posting a series of features considering the current state of our country. I’ll also be undertaking new adventures.

Why am I doing this?

 

Gen Port L Res (19 of 41)

As most of you have undoubtedly noticed, America has undergone some pretty drastic changes over the last several decades. Our economy- for most people- has utterly collapsed and appears incapable of offering meaningful work to many of it’s citizens- even, if not especially, to those who have a desperate desire to work in order to support themselves and their families.

For the first time in the history of this country, many of our children appear destined to enjoy a lower standard of living then their parents.

Many more working citizens cannot earn enough, due to stagnant wages and limited employment, to enjoy a classic middle class lifestyle despite working often difficult jobs for 40-50 hours a week.

And unless you’ve been in a coma, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that our entire government-on both the right and left- has to gone to hell.

I trust I need not elaborate, save maybe to say that damn near every politician in this country has become not only bitter and utterly partisan, but nasty as well. Snarkiness and nastiness seem to be the fashion.

Which isn’t to say that the rest of us have been charming. The general populace, as well as the companies we’ve created, the organizations we people and the teams we cheer seem to have not only lost their civility and sense of humor, but, in too many cases, have grown churlish and often childish.

Why?

Bar

Well, there are many reasons, which I’ll be exploring in the coming weeks. 

In short, I want to know, how did we get to this sorry place and how do we fix ourselves?

Because for 99% of us, you’d have to be insane to love the status quo.  Things are way too broken, and way too hard, in this country right now for anyone to be amused.

The vast majority of us have been overworked and underpaid and lied to by those paid to protect our interests.

Why? Again, we’ll look at that.  And together, no matter what your class, beliefs or politics we can search together for answers.  

We may not agree, at the end of the day, but if I have my way, we’ll at least understand and respect one and other.

 It’s not that hard. We’ll just go forth, you and I, and look for answers to some very basic questions.

3-6-12-1

That’s why I took a couple of months out of my life to travel many thousands of miles- to look for these and other answers.

That’s why I intend to continue traveling and speaking with people throughout this country. The simple truth is that the primary reason for this project is that I’m on a pilgrimage looking for answers.

I want to answer- if only for my own personal edification- some very basic questions:

Does the American Dream still exist?

Are we one country or many?

Is there room in America today for diverse cultures?

Are the concepts of individualism and creativity still valued in America?

 Has the globalization of the world economy destroyed the American dream and American creativity?

How did we become such a quarrelsome fragmented and quite frankly, unpleasant country?What is community?

Is community important, and if so, why?

And more than anything, I want to know, how do we fix this country?

There are many talented and kind-hearted people in this country- and they come in all shapes and sizes and religious and political denominations.  

I believe  there’s not any reason to live like this. There’s no reason this country can’t be great again, brilliant again.

Not in some fraudulent jingoistic sense, but in a Steve Jobs, Willie Mays, Amelia Earhart kind of way. Not in a Wall Street,  I got mine sense, but in a Civilian Conservation Corps, Apple Computer, nothing to fear but fear itself sort of way.

pod 3-16-12-1

If you love history, you know this country has been down many times before and has come back again and again. 

This country has survived bad times before thanks to the bravery and resilience of the American people.

No church, government nor company has every saved this country. We saved ourselves.  No one is going to save us now- we can only save ourselves.

Brooklyn Bridge-fftv media
Brooklyn Bridge-fftv media

The very real truth is that our world is in a mess. There are pretty much two choices. Quit or fight.

Which do you choose?

 

Write me at michaelfftv@gmail.com and let me know.