Wednesday, April 14, 2021

#104 / The Shared American Story

Ken Burns (pictured above) is an American filmmaker who is known for using archival footage and photographs in documentary films about American history. According to a New York Times article by David Marchese, which appeared in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday, March 21, 2021, it seems that Burns "still has faith in a shared American story."
On the same day I read that in The Times, one of my Facebook Friends provided me with this advisory:

This posting is a sobering reminder that "sharing" has not always played a very prominent role in the "American Story." Furthermore, the story of slavery and segregation is not the only part of our story that should remind us of that fact.
A shared story, in fact, is the only story worth telling - or perhaps I should say, "worth writing," worth creating. Reading the Marchese article, and then seeing the posting by my Facebook Friend, reminded me of my own recent posting about the January 6, 2021, invasion of the U.S. Capitol. Andrew Marantz presented us with a fine video reply to President Biden's statement, discussing what happened on that day, and claiming, "That's not who we are."
As he talked with Marchese, Burns said that he had learned this:

There is no "them." It's just "us."

Biden's statement (not unlike Burns' statement to Marchese, just presented in bold type, above), is really only one aspect of what needs to be a more comprehensive understanding. To refute Biden, the January 6th invasion of the Capitol both was, and wasn't, "who we are." To address Burns' claim, we must realize that our American story must either be a "shared" story, or it really isn't about America, at all. 
We must all be involved in both the action and the telling of the "American Story," and as I said before, in that posting about Biden's claim:

The long arc of history doesn't just bend itself. 
We have to do the work of bending it.

Image Credits:
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(2) -

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