Episodes — 20 June 2011
Episode 12: America Moves Forward

WATCH

DISCUSS

1. How do you feel about the Zooglio reporters’ seeming change of heart regarding the recent developments with Jefferson Williams II?

2. What are some other examples that you can think of where the media has misreported a news story?

3. What are some of the dangers of not having a free and independent press in a democracy?

4. How might ordinary citizens like us help ensure that all people are the same human rights and protections under the law?

5. In what ways does a commitment to diversity contribute to the strength of a democratic society?

Additional Tips for Educators: During a nine-month trip to the United States in 1832, Alexis de Tocqueville, a French bureaucrat, took many notes on American political life. These notes became the basis of his book Democracy in America. Tocqueville observed that role of an active citizenry and a free press is indispensible in democracies. Tocqueville argues that it is through transparency and availability of accurate information that citizens can come together to discuss issues of mutual concern and hold their governments and elected officials accountable.

Throughout the course of the game, you have seen the role the media plays in terms of creating public knowledge by highlighting certain perspectives while downplaying others. You have also witnessed the efforts of committed citizens such as Ken Asaba and Lin Xue to foster a willingness among their fellow citizens to question the “official story,” and to critically reflect on the information dispensed via mass media. Your “success” in the game was dependent on your ability to cultivate these skills each week as you progressed through the levels.

As we have learned, American history is characterized by many episodes of conflict, violence, and inequity—but it is also a tale of dynamic, visionary people who have dedicated their lives and careers to realizing equal rights for all, a more just society, and the elimination of bigotry and discrimination over time. Their successes rest upon the energy and participation of countless others who have supported them and share the view that all people are created equal, and that we all have inalienable rights. The future of these rights is not yet written; it will be made by the commitment and vigilance of those who hold them dear.

MAKE

After having seen one possibility for our common future in playing America 2049, think about the following questions: What is your vision of the future in the United States? What will 2049 look like? What should it look like?

You will make a postcard depicting the future that you would like to see in the United States. In doing so, you can express this vision any way you want—as a poem, a drawing, a quote from someone else, a set of instructions, a collage, etc.—anything so long as it fits on a postcard-sized piece of paper, roughly 4”x 6”.

What you’ll need:

• Thick, stiff paper
• A ruler
• Magazines (for collage making)
• Scissors
• Crayons, pens, markers, colored pencils, etc.
• Adhesives
• A postage stamp

Cut your paper into a 4” x 6” rectangle.

On one side, write a short message or tagline, add your stamp, and address the postcard to:
4 West 37th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10018

On the other, depict your vision for the future of the United States.

ACT

Now that you have made your postcard, take a photo of it or scan it, make sure you capture both sides, and upload it to the America2049 Facebook page. Add a comment to your photo describing what your card means, or how the idea for your card came to you.

Once you do that, drop your postcard in the mail. Once it arrives, it will join thousands of other cards from people like you who have played the game, examined their opinions, and learned about human rights and what could be in the United States.

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