The Trip

What is America?

I could think of only one way to find the answer.

With a gnawing suspicion that it is not reporters, pundits, and politicians playing grab ass on cable news shows…nor is it actors and actresses, musicians and other artistic types tearfully talking into the camera, I put a lucrative management consulting business on hold, tossed a tent and a sleeping bag into the back of a pickup and took off.

I found, through a series of character vignettes, a nation I could love.

I found my America.

It is the unspectacular but profoundly moving acts of selflessness, yearning, longing, searching, anger, and grief of ordinary people, as profiled in the Dispatches section of this site.

From Los Angeles to Ground Zero, I profile a series of fellow citizens from all walks of life as they struggle with the greatest degree of uncertainty and insecurity this country has seen in generations.

The shared tragedy of 9/11 provides Americans with an emotional Rosetta Stone that allows us to share experiences, feelings, and thoughts that go beyond the surface prejudices and preconceptions we normally and often unknowingly carry. Simply by broaching the topic of the Attacks conversations would dive into the realm of emotional truth, without regard to the social, economic, racial, cultural, and geographic differences often used as an excuse to avoid such a connection. Conversations moved rapidly from the trivial (what we do, where we’re from) to the profound (how we feel, what we think, our dreams and aspirations).

Instead of diversity, we celebrated a shared experience. Instead of a relentless focus on the numerators…African, European, Latino, Asian, Liberal, Conservative, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Native, Buddhist…we embraced the common denominator. Though we may have surface differences, though we may have significant philosophical and cultural differences, we embraced our shared American-ness.

That is the gift of this journey.