George Packer: America in Crisis and Renewal
The year 2020 brought out the best and the worst of the American people. The year shocked us as we experienced a ruthless pandemic, an inept government response, polarizing protests and an election defaced by conspiracy theories. According to popular American journalist George Packer, these events did not come out of nowhere; they were symptoms of the hazardous conditions directly beneath the surface of the American dream. In his new book Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, Packer traces the roots of these issues that he says have drastically changed the normative way of American life.
Packer investigates what he calls the four different Americas citizens live in: a "Free America" that encourages individuality and corporate submission, a "Smart America" that represents the technological and professional elite, a "Real America" that constitutes the white Christian nationalism of the midlands, and a "Just America" that delineates identity groups that suffer from marginalization. Packer believes that none of these Americas are conducive to achieving an ideal nation. With a background in U.S. foreign policy and American history, Packer uses his knowledge to find a common American identity that prioritizes equality for all and national renewal.
Join us as George Packer and moderator Anne-Marie Slaughter envision a better, more equitable American future.
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Packer photo by Kris Julien.
Staff Writer, The Atlantic; Author, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal
In Conversation with Anne-Marie Slaughter
CEO, New America