This is what political division looks like in the U.S. right now

“America at a Crossroads,” a new one-hour documentary from the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, explores what everyday Americans think about the state of the country. Watch at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 19, on your local PBS station or on YouTube . I started my “America at a Crossroads” reporting project last January with the goal of meeting with and listening to as many Americans as I could, to try to understand why we’re so divided. In all my years of covering politics, I don’t remember a time like this, when people not only hold different views, but in many cases, can’t stand those who disagree with them. It’s not easy to know at what point people move from having strongly held political beliefs to negative partisanship, labeling people on the other side as ignorant or immoral. Eleven months, 14 states and 21 reports later, I’ve seen examples of people trying to bridge the partisan divide , but I’m still dismayed by the division and the vitriol. I’ve learned a lot about what that division looks and sounds like, but still struggle to understand what’s driving it. It’s not easy to know at what point people move from having strongly held political beliefs to negative partisanship, labeling people on the other side as ignorant or immoral. What causes a long-time friendly rural community around Saegertown, in Western Pennsylvania, to break up into bitter factions over banning books in school libraries and dictating what teachers can discuss about the history of race in America? Judy Woodruff reports on a district in Pennsylvania where policies around books, gender, sports, race and history have divided some community members. We weren’t able to speak with the School Board member pushing to scrub books in that community. But one parent, Teresa Barickman, pointed […]

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By Donato