I've been doing these profiles sporadically for a couple months now on the East Coast but there is a sense of urgency now with an explicit driving trip. Something came up in yesterday's conversation that I hadn't fully realized but is important. This project is not trying to be another one of the many attempts to play super sleuth on the "white working class." When people ask what the project is about, I tell them that America felt foreign to me. What I hadn't said explicitly until now is this doesn't mean "Republicans felt foreign to me" or "rural whites felt foreign to me" though there is an element of that. Rather, I felt like America has forgotten a bit of what it means to participate with itself.
Orlando said something at the end of our conversation, that the Nigerian Igbo language doesn't have words for "I love you." Instead, it says "I see you." The end goal of talking to people across the country is to put a spyglass inward for a moment, to see America more fully, and hopefully allow some people to see it as well.