From the back cover ...
Elections tell us a lot about ourselves, sometimes with breathtaking clarity...The picture revealed on November 7, 2000 was a split image...a nation divided in almost every conceivable way..."
Kenneth T. Walsh
"Crossing the Great Divide,"
November 20, 2000 cover story,
U.S. News & World Report
Let me be the bridge to an America that only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith, and confidence in action.
Bob Dole's 1996 Acceptance Speech
I am determined to take our best traditions into the future. But with all due respect, we do not need to build a bridge to the past, we need to build a bridge to the future... let us resolve to build that bridge to the 21st century, to meet our challenges and protect our values...
Bill Clinton's 1996 Acceptance Speech
In 1996, William Jefferson Clinton was running as a sitting president. He would be the first Democratic Party presidential candidate to be elected twice in more than half a century. It would only be appropriate that someone his age would take us into the new century--the new millennium. In The Bridge to the 21st Century: Reflections on the Soul of a Nation, author Cary Coole ponders what these intriguing speeches revealed about both men and our nation--if we listened carefully, Coole says, we could get a sense of two Americas. One man was rooted in the past and wanted desperately to bring something he felt, but was hard to define, into the future; the other was focused on the future but made it clear he did not want to build a bridge to the past. What Dole found so difficult to define and Clinton found so easy to overlook was our soul - the soul of our nation. In the sixties and seventies, when Clinton was coming of age, a portion of our citizens entered into a covert, unspoken agreement to amend the Bill of Rights. A New America began to emerge; Old America was becoming passť, obsolete, and unfashionable.
Starting on New Year's Eve, turn of the century, Coole takes us on a tug-of-war for the soul of a nation. Part memoir and part history, this is a look at America not from the bastions of academia, but from the spirit of the heartland.
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