Americans of all political stripes are feeling a heightened sense of worry: where are we headed as a nation? What some of us see as great social achievements, others see as proof-positive of the decline of the country. There’s been a noticeable up-tick in the rhetoric of division and a crypto-nostalgia for an America “the way it used to be.”

We wanted to try to make some connections on this week’s program: between the rise in hate crimes and other vivid examples of intolerance that seem to populate the pages of our newspapers each week… and the way politics is being talked about in 2010. But we didn’t want a shouting match. So, we invited three thoughtful observers of politics and culture to join Maria for a free-wheeling discussion of the country, its direction, and its leadership — and the role of the media, community, and family in helping to shape the America we live in.

This is the extended version of their conversation which runs just over three-quarters of an hour. A shorter version, edited to meet the time constraints of our broadcast, aired on the radio program (and can be heard using the player in the top right corner of this page.)

Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

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