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Morgan Freeman is weighing in on why we have such a divided nation.
The actor is the center of the six-episode National Geographic documentary series “The Story of Us With Morgan Freeman,” during which he travels around the world to speak with different types of people and hear their stories.
The “Shawshank Redemption” star was asked during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Tuesday whether people ever scoff at the notion that listening to individuals’ anecdotes can actually make a difference.
“I think there’s always going to be a contingent, a small one albeit, who will roll their eyes at do-gooders, tree-huggers, people who for one reason or another think differently and have higher aspirations,” Freeman replied. “When people get disillusioned, they get fearful for their own future — this is happening in a lot of places in the world today, particularly here, with the innovations in technology that are moving jobs [away].”
“These things create fear, and fear creates tension, and tension creates friction, and there you have it,” he added.
Executive producer Lori McCreary pointed out that hearing others’ points of view is exactly what can help unite a nation that appears more politically polarized than ever in light of the contentious 2016 presidential election that Trump won.
“The way today that the left and the right demonize each other and just write the other side off as hopeless and too far gone … the response, the answer and the solution to fear is connection,” she said. “We need to see this divide as something that can be bridged, and I think it starts with empathy, it starts with compassion. It starts with, ‘I need to understand how you see things.'”
“The Story of Us With Morgan Freeman” premieres Oct. 11 on National Geographic.