Vanderbilt University has announced the launch of the Project on Unity & American Democracy, which will aim “to advance toward that more perfect union at a time when the urgency of the political moment calls for action.” The project will do this by re-introducing evidence and solutions from the left, right, and center rather than ideological claims in an effort to reunite the country.
Led by co-chairs Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian; former Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; and former Obama White House fellow and civil rights activist Samar Ali will provide strategic advice to advance the conversation about unity and American democracy.
Meacham narrated a three-minute video on the project that starts off with the “dark days” of the Capitol Hill riots using that as the main theme for why our country is so divided. The video also includes some footage of a George Floyd protest to make a case why social justice is so important and a short clip of a riot with a burning car without any explanation as to who is responsible.
As Meacham sums up the project, he says that “There is no vaccine for polarization,” but through the project, they will “shine empirical light on what binds Americans together.”
The attempt to paint this project as one that will truly study unity in a fair and balanced way is misleading. With two of the co-chairs hailing from the liberal side of the political spectrum and Haslam a moderate Republican it al already tilting center-left from the beginning.
As for Meacham’s comment about polarization, will he look truthfully at his former liberal media colleagues who are the root cause of today’s political polarization with their incessant hammering away at President Donald Trump during his term in office focusing on the negative and dismissing the positive achievements?