Reportage and Documentary
Through A Fractured Land
Jyllands-Posten sent me, along with journalist Heidi Plougsgaard Jensen, across America to capture the state of the country in the 100 days leading up to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
In the midst of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across America in the summer of 2020, I had the opportunity to travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans on assignment for the major Danish daily newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, to tell stories about America’s nuances in the run up to the 2020 presidential election. What I witnessed from spending time with everyday citizens and learning about their worries, personal triumphs, and hopes, is that these United States are indeed a fractured land.
I observed a deep divide tearing at the fabric of American society. People pitted against each other, exacerbated by the toxicity of social media that amplifies partisan media, with an increasingly shocking wide spectrum of views. Los Angeles exposed extreme economic realities at the very beginning of the journey, with the upscale shopping on Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive to the nearby homeless encampments along Venice Beach. A church service in Southern California led by a pastor who eschews masks in his congregation, as defiantly populated as ever. A woman visiting Texas from Michigan proclaimed she was voting for Trump, questioning “isn’t that Biden guy a pedophile?” The border wall with Mexico and its unwavering support by many locals, followed by protests against racial injustice in New Mexico led by a unified, angry, and hopeful collective of all ages, colors, and ethnicities.
After 30 days on the road, ending in a subdued and nearly empty New Orleans, I came to realize that my country, in all its distorted discord amplified by partisan political discourse, somehow carries on, and that there is more than enough progressive thought and good will to move us past this ugly moment.