Unraveling America


We're all glad to have survived. Thousand twenty the change in the us administration suggests it may be time for a different tone in how americans work on the issues our country needs to tack. But are we up. For an essay on the unraveling of america an anthropologist. Wade davis wrote for rolling stone last august. Got people talking. He joins us now from his home near vancouver. Bc to explore. America's changing role in global politics is essay is sort of like a letter to a neighbor who needs a little tough love and that neighbor happens to be a canadian anthropologist. Wade thanks for joining us. My pleasure could be with you so you wrote an article. That apparently is the most widely read thing. Rolling stone has ever published. Will it hit a real nerve. Million people read it on the site. It trended number one for five weeks three hundred and sixty two million social media impressions within two months and my visitations to my wikipedia. Site soared from a modest one hundred fifty a day to over four thousand. Just hit this nerve wrecking a none of us expected that nervous like that Little quip that's going around on the internet suggesting that to live in candidate today is like owning an apartment above a meth lab. Robin williams. Actually your essays. You say. it's a love letter. But it's a love letter called the unraveling of your neighbor america. How is it a love letter. Well i think when you have someone you love and you do. A family intervention. The most important in the first thing have to do is hold a mirror chisholm to show how far they've fallen. Because that's the first step in the path of rehabilitation and. I think that things have happened so fast. In america that in a way people look in the mirror and they still see the myth of their on exceptionalism and they don't necessarily see how far things have changed and i think kovic revealed that you know it didn't cost the country to fall but revealed to what extent the country had fallen. And i think a lot of that's just about the nature of community and i think where canada's not perfect place but it is interesting to compare the consequences of covid in the two countries way. It's it's interesting because americans. I think we take up a little bit offence when somebody from country critiques us. But we're more likely to listen to canadians. And it's so helpful for somebody to remind us that the global view of america has changed a little bit. I mean people used to look at us differently than they do now well as a great reporter for the irish times you know. They've been many motions expressed about america's since world war two but one that has never been there is there now that was pity. And that was how the world saw america's frontline healthcare workers were waiting. The arrival of emergency supplies on air lists from china. It was almost like the hinge of history opened the asian century. Pity that's something new. Another thought that. I've had is. When i if i ever refer to america's as an empire people take offense to it but we're an empire to me and empires rise and empires fall. I'm a historian and and it's frustrating to me. How unable or unwilling americans are to realize. History may be speaking to us in your essay. You reminded us how empires come and empires go. Well no kingdom expects to fall and they all do you know historically if you think in european tradition. The fifteenth century belonged to the portuguese the sixteenth to the spanish to seventeen to the dutch. The eighteenth to the french and the the nineteenth to the british. The british empire actually reached its greatest geographical extent in nineteen thirty five. But we know of course that by the end of world war two empire was bankrupt and bled white in the torch had in fact passed to america. What clearly yeah. I mean if you look at the numbers after world war two we were so dominant and comfortable thinking. We're the last great superpower. But of course as you said look at what the past has taught us and i think pretty clearly right now. There's a changing of the the torch ever further westward in it and china is emerging as the next great superpower I mean i don't necessarily look forward to that moment with any kind of The light and i think if if and when we find out that this is the fading of the american era. I think we'll be very nostalgic for the best years of that era.

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