The Reunited States Documentary: How Can We Bring America Back Together?

Caroline Graham • October 1, 2020 • 4 min read

This week, The Reunited States feature-length documentary film continues its marathon tour across the country, with seven upcoming film festival screenings. Civic Health Project, a proud sponsor of The Reunited States, invites you to check out this 3-minute preview of the documentary and to sign up to host your own screening.

Based on the book The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide by Mark Gerzon, The Reunited States documentary shows viewers a way forward that is not defined by political rancor. Contrasting sharply with today’s news cycle, which is dominated by political polarization and growing concern over the potential for political violence, The Reunited States explores the stories of four everyday heroes who are working to create bridges across the partisan divide.

We see Republicans David and Erin Leaverton, who pack up their family in an RV and travel around the country to increase their understanding of the difficulties all Americans face. Greg Orman, an Independent running for Governor of Kansas. Steven Olikara, who launched Millennial Action Project in order to increase a transpartisan future in politics (A new study released from Lugar Center on July 30th found that Members of Congress under 45 are significantly more likely to engage in bipartisan behavior, and the individuals with the highest Bipartisan Index are part of the Millennial Action Project Future Caucus). Finally, we see Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, who has carried on her daughter’s quest for social justice and racial healing after Heather was killed during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

With Americans increasingly divided over the upcoming election, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Reunited States brings a hopeful message that reaching across divides and focusing on empathy, understanding, and common ground can transform our nation.

The Reunited States artfully creates a film in which the viewer is invited to jump back and forth between what is and what could be — namely, a country that is Red and Blue, as opposed to Red versus Blue. As articulated by the film’s narrator Mark Gerzon, “We need a narrative of the left and the right working together …. Polarization is in our own hearts.” If we can recognize that, we can work towards fixing it.

The film is currently slated to appear at the Port Townsend Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, United Nations Association Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival, Virginia Film Festival, Twin Cities Film Festival, and St. Louis Film Festival over the next two months. Check out the events page for additional screenings near you.

Don’t see an event in your area? Sign up to host a screening in your community. The Reunited States offers a variety of dialogue toolkits, event invitations, and more to help bring your event to life and to foster a fruitful discussion among participants. In addition, Mark Gerzen has generously made his book “The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide” available to download for free for a limited time.

Want to continue the conversation on eliminating toxic partisanship and fostering political open-mindedness? Consider adding these films to your watch list as well:

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