The prestigious American filmmaker and historian Ken Burns analyzed the situation in the country and concluded that it is as serious as it could have been during the Civil War.

Burns believes that the national crisis can also be compared to such difficult stages as the Great Depression and World War II, as he described on the “SmartLess” podcast hosted by Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes on Sept. 20. 

“It’s really serious. There are three great crises before this: the Civil War, the Depression, and World War II. This is equal to it,” Burns said. 

He further elaborated by considering that the greatest threat could arise from within the country rather than from external enemies. To illustrate his idea, he used the words of former President Abraham Lincoln. 

“No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide,” Lincoln said in 1838. 

Burns’ 40-year career as a filmmaker and documentary filmmaker has brought him great fame and several Emmy Awards.

American author and lawyer Michael A. Smerconish, a radio and television host, commented on Burns’ remarks.

Smerconish said he could not say for sure that the current situation was similar to that of the Civil War, but he was more concerned than he had been for the past 30 years. 

He was concerned that “today’s crisis seems existential, you know, the crisis of fighting among ourselves, the crisis of climate change, the crisis of pandemic.”

These crises are “symptomatic of a really deep divide among us. Today we can’t even have conversations about these things without them becoming so vitriolic, and the question is why.” 

To delve a little deeper into one of the issues mentioned by Smerconish, and one that divides not only the United States but also many countries, one can take up the pandemic crisis and, as part of that, the persistent push for all people to be vaccinated against COVID.  

The Biden administration declared mandatory vaccination for all employees of companies that hire more than 100 or, failing that, weekly COVID-19 testing.

These requirements will affect up to 80 million private-sector workers. Several states are opposed to mandatory vaccination. A significant percentage of the population has not yet decided to take the jab, generating division between the two groups, those who are vaccinated and those who are not. 

Several state officials of the Republican Party also expressed their opinion, warning that they would sue President Joe Biden unless he changed his vaccination mandate.

Thus, a total of 24 state attorneys general “seek every legal option” to stop the White House order for large private companies to comply with its strict vaccination mandate.

While the attorney generals acknowledged that vaccines play an essential role in the community during the pandemic, they oppose Biden’s blunt approach to force more people to receive the vaccine.

“Convincing those who are hesitant to do so would require you to allow room for discussion and disagreement,” they said in an open letter.

They added: “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds—it will further drive skepticism, and at least some Americans will simply leave the job market instead of complying.”

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