It’s straightforward to overlook that the United States began as an experiment: a authorities of the individuals, by the individuals, and for the individuals, with liberty and justice for all. That was the concept. On this weekly present, we test in on how that experiment goes.
The Experiment: tales from an unfinished nation. From The Atlantic and WNYC Studios.
Music by Ob (“Ghyll” and “Mog”), Parish Council (“Socks Before Trousers” and “Durdle Door”), and water function (“richard iii (duke of gloucester)”). Additional audio from C-SPAN, Senator Chris Murphy, Lawrence University, the House Judiciary Committee, the Washington Post reporter Rebecca Tan, and the City of Lake Worth Beach.
A transcript of this episode is offered under:
(Over nighttime atmosphere and the hum of crickets.)
Julia Longoria: Okay. We’re doing, like, a trailer—you already know, like a film trailer. You wish to be in it?
Margarita Longoria: Of course!
(Driving, rhythmic Cuban music performs.)
Julia: What’s my identify?
Margarita: Julia Longoria.
Julia: And who’re you to me?
Margarita: I’m your aunt.
Julia: I wish to begin issues off with my aunt Margarita—
Margarita: (Amid the commotion of a household dialogue) … política, y no quiero entrar en política …
Julia: —as a result of every time my large Cuban household will get collectively in Miami to drink and dance and argue about politics, my aunt will get a number of tequilas deep, and he or she’ll at all times say this factor.
(Music modifications tone, turns into softer, extra strings-heavy. A wine glass clinks.)
Margarita: ¡Que viva la Pepa!
Julia: And she doesn’t simply say it; she’ll, like, experience it, and take it into her soul and, like … (Laughs.)
Margarita: (Slowed down.) ¡Que viva la Pepa!
Julia: “¡Que viva la Pepa!”—lengthy stay “la Pepa.” Whatever which means.
Margarita: I don’t know. I heard it in my home. Like, previous individuals in my home—sensible individuals—used to say, “¡Que viva la Pepa!”
Julia: I imply, for me, it has at all times simply meant that Tía is drunk. But lately I appeared it up. It seems what my aunt was drunkenly celebrating all these years … is democracy.
(Music modifications tone once more, turns into smoother and extra electronics-heavy.)
Julia: “La Pepa” is a nickname for an previous and useless structure. Back when Cuba was a colony, Spain wrote “La Pepa,” and promised Cuba that they’d have illustration in authorities. They promised them democracy. And I suppose individuals had been into this. And in order that they began saying:
Margarita: (Even slower this time.) ¡Que viva la Pepa!
Julia: “Long live the constitution!” Of course, that promise … died. Democracy by no means got here. Many revolutions had been fought. But the saying caught. And over 200 years later, you possibly can nonetheless discover tipsy aunts and uncles toasting to its eternal life.
Margarita: It is a perfect. That’s what it’s: a great.
(Music shifts tone as soon as extra, turns into extra somber.)
Julia: You know, a toast isn’t an announcement of truth. It’s extra like a prayer, like a repetition of a hope. And I ponder if what my aunt was doing was attempting to will a great into existence.
Margarita: In this nation at present, we have to have beliefs.
Representative Dan Crenshaw: We are a rustic of heroes. I imagine that. So do you have to.
Representative John Lewis: We have an ethical obligation to talk up and get in good hassle.
Amanda Gorman: (Fades up.) … and witnessed a nation that isn’t damaged, however merely unfinished. We, the successors of a rustic … (Fades out.)
Julia: I’ve been eager about this lots within the second we’re dwelling in now, within the United States—
Representative Maxine Waters: (Over the shutters of cameras.) What are we going to do? How can a president …? (Fades below.)
Senator Chris Murphy: The most critical try to overthrow our democracy is below method.
(The sounds of a crowd play.)
Julia: —when the beliefs of our personal Constitution can really feel far-off.
(A crowd chants indistinctly.)
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: We aren’t experiencing the most effective of occasions.
(Crowds from the Capitol revolt chant “Protect the Constitution” and “Take the house back, America!” Then the sounds of the group overlay dialogue from the Senate, together with clips of Senator Josh Hawley.)
Lake Worth Beach Commissioner Omari Hardy: This is a banana republic, is what you’re turning this place into!
Senator Lindsey Graham: I hope the American individuals can see via this sham.
Senator Todd Young: Under God! Do we nonetheless take that significantly on this nation?
President Joe Biden, throughout a 2020 presidential debate: Will you shut up, man?
Gabriel Sterling: It has to cease!
(A sudden and stunning silence.)
Julia: This present is in regards to the experiment of democracy. It’s in regards to the beliefs that we pledge to and toast to, even after they really feel far-off. And it’s in regards to the messy work we do after we attempt to carry these beliefs all the way down to Earth.
Margarita: Yeah. We’re all experimenting in our lives, and I believe that’s what this nation is all about.
Julia: Okay, are you able to say, “This is The Experiment”?
Margarita: Este es El Experimento.
Julia: I’m Julia Longoria. This is The Experiment, from The Atlantic and WNYC Studios.
(The music fades into the sound of crickets, which, after a second, fades away too.)