A fascinating exploration of American cultural identity. Traveling across the country, Jennings interviews Americans from all walks of life for their thoughts on the national character while examining the history of the principles established by the founding fathers.
Peter Jennings visits Frito Lay headquarters in Plano, Texas, to explore the idea so central to America: free enterprise. Why is the world becoming so “American”? How are essential American ideas about freedom and the right to work hard to earn a better life spreading to every continent? The answer may have a lot more to do with potato chips than with politics.
Gary, Indiana, is 88% black and was supposed to be a place where the promise of equality took on political reality for black Americans. But 35 years after electing the country’s first black mayor the promise remains unfulfilled. Peter Jennings reports from a city confronting the enduring legacy of slavery, America’s racial divide and the elusive promise of equality and prosperity.
In the God-fearing town of Aiken, South Carolina, a group pushing to teach creationism in schools, a calendar created for charity featuring some of the town’s grand dames posing naked, and the mayor’s campaign for character building have turned Aiken into a microcosm of the American dilemma over godliness, values, and morality.
Who gets to be an American? In a country that defines itself by ideals, not by shared blood, who should be allowed to come here, work here, and live here? In the wake of 9/11, Peter Jennings finds the immigration dilemma has made its way into even the most unexpected parts of the country – in this case very white, very Mormon, Salt Lake City.
This film is a poignant look at what happens to a high school class in Boulder, Colorado, that decided to put on a production of the Broadway musical Hair…about rebellion, the Vietnam era, and their parents’ generation. Rehearsals began while the country was at peace …and then came September 11th. Suddenly patriotism, protest, and the strength of American ideas took on a new and greater meaning.
Call of the Wild
What role do we want government to play in our lives? This film looks at the reintroduction by the federal government of the once nearly extinct grey wolf to Idaho. For ranchers the reintroduction of wolves is seen as sentimental idiocy that threatens livestock, human beings and a way of life. For conservationists it is the government looking to the future and preserving a natural treasure. It is a struggle over power, land and liberty.