Ken Burns has produced some magnificent television documentaries for Public Broadcasting in the US. Burns likes the traditional Latin motto of the United States E pluribus unum, which means “Out of many, one.” I like it too. It appears on the Great Seal of the United Sates. Arthur Schlesinger complained that the United States suffered from too much pluralism and not enough one. It was adopted in 1782 but since then another motto has been more popular: “In God we Trust.” I don’t like that one quite as much. In 1956 Congress adopted it as the official motto of the country. What ever happened to separation of church and state?
Ken Burns said that too often we think we connected and we are actually disconnected from each other. There are no more town greens. PBS is part of the commons. It is part of the public square. Burns says it is one place where we can have rational discourse in difficult times when the tapestry of the commons is frayed. Times like these. I think that is a pretty good motto.