Real Leaders

The American Question: Rethinking Values in Order to Survive as a Superpower

A year after the historically divisive 2016 elections, a new documentary is challenging Americans to stop blaming others and question how their own decisions and actions shape the contours of our society and our country.

By asking questions about family, money, religion, civics and more, the film gets viewers to question whether the divisions in our society truly stem from group dynamics, or if we’re all part of the problem as individuals.

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“The American Question,” produced by Guy Seemann (pictured above) – a political veteran and entrepreneur who’s lived all over the world and directed by James Kicklighter – a Hollywood filmmaker raised in rural Georgia, profiles dozens of Americans from across the political, economic and social spectrum in search of these answers, going far deeper than just getting people together to find some superficial common ground.

The film explores this question through the lens of history, deteriorating civic education and evolving culture rather than rehashing the 2016 election. After conducting dozens of interviews of people from different walks of life all across the country, the creators believe something much bigger is at work, and that it has the potential to threaten the status of America as a superpower.

“We found that our divides had nothing to do with the election,” Seemann said.

“Fights spring up over core values which are supposed to unite us as a nation. Religion, speech, equality, opportunity – these concepts kept coming up over and over again.”

“This is a unique period in time, but the identity crisis we’re feeling is part of a cyclical pattern in this country. After our nation unites to defeat a common enemy – the imperial British, slavery and secession or the Nazis, we tend to lose our cohesiveness. This time, though, we have to address this issue or our status as a cohesive entity – let alone a superpower –is under threat,” he added.

Kicklighter continued, “there’s a set of values that define what it means to be an American. I heard people from all corners of the country saying the other side did not have their interests in mind. A fascinating pattern unfolded about the broader culture here, and we are trying to figure out what’s causing it and what it means.”

“What’s dangerous is when someone comes to a different set of conclusions based on their ideological perspective and pegs the other as an enemy simply because the other doesn’t agree with their individualized ideology,” Kicklighter said. “I hope The American Question helps people recognize that their neighbor is as American as they are. That’s the starting point we need to get to,” he said.

With entire communities in crisis due to this breakdown over America’s core values, the filmmakers are looking to spark a national conversation to encourage viewers to rethink how they themselves approach their own life decisions as well as their perceived differences with their neighbors. Seemann, Kicklighter and their national team want to enable them to reconcile over the shared values laid out in the founding documents which have helped the country overcome adversity since its founding.

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