The Divided Soul of America | DocFilm | DW | 25.07.2019
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The Divided Soul of America

Racism, intolerance and xenophobia have always existed in the USA. But under Donald Trump, America has become a bitterly divided country and the scene of a fierce cultural struggle for the nation's future.

Watch video 42:36

President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House has seen an alarming surge of class and racial hatred and xenophobia in a country that has always been defined by immigration. The lower classes feel neglected and bitterly resentful of what they see as a cultural elite and have thrown their weight behind what they see as a populist revolution against ethnic and cultural diversity. Filmmaker Jörg Daniel Hissen traveled to the USA to examine the sources of this conflict, focusing on a group of activists who are unwilling to accept Donald Trump and all he stands for. One of them is Paula Green, initiator of "Hands Across the Hills." She is an experienced crisis mediator who tries to bring people with opposing political backgrounds and opinions together through personal dialogue transcending all cultural boundaries. We also meet New York artist and activist Molly Crabapple, New Jersey photographer Dana Singer, African-American writer Brit Bennett, and the director of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Chris Bedford. Mark Lilla, Professor of the History of Ideas at Columbia University in New York, believes Americans are facing an identity crisis: "What is missing is a vision of political identity that we all share," he says "We have lost our common identity as a nation and a society." But if the different camps fail to rediscover it and overcome their mutual contempt, nothing less than the country's democracy will be at stake.