Red states vs. blue states. Urban vs. rural. The coasts vs. the center. The rich vs. the rest.
The tale of two Americas isn't a new narrative, but it's one we've been hearing about perhaps more than ever since the most recent presidential election, at a time when the divisions in our culture and politics are indeed substantial. And it's one we've seen on display everywhere from Chicago to Charlottesville. It's past time to wrestle with this reality, and to find a better way forward.
How can we get beyond the narrative of polarization? What are the glimmers of unity, or of unified purpose? As a magazine that operates from the belief that good storytelling is at the root of making change, these are just two of the questions we ask ourselves often as editors. Now, we're addressing these issues in a more expansive, comprehensive way.
The Pacific Standard editorial team is currently hard at work on putting the finishing touches on our next issue—March/April—which will mark the 10th anniversary of our founding. For a special package that we're calling The 50 States Project, we've spent the past six months asking writers, artists, and thought leaders from every state in the nation to outline some of the biggest problems and most hopeful solutions happening in each. This ambitious project will anchor a cover-to-cover look at the new American narrative—an investigation into civic action and cultural leverage points that are different from what's been seen before in this country. We've found stories that chronicle unprecedented phenomena, activism, and efforts happening domestically in response to our nation's polarization. Our hope is that, by putting all of these stories—and solutions—together in one issue, we can find where to focus our energy to effect the most change.
After the 10th anniversary issue, we're going to use this page a little differently. Going forward, I'll hand over the editor's column to different employees of and contributors to this magazine to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making Pacific Standard. We'll show you why we consider an aggressive research department so critical, how we fact-check big feature stories, why it can take more than a year to put together a special issue, and much more. If there's something you want to know more about, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org; we'll use reader questions and prompts to shape this space in the months to come.