American Voices: A Nation in Turmoil
A FRONTLINE post-election special on the lives, fears and hopes of Americans, from the pandemic to the polls. This documentary was filmed around the U.S. for much of the year, following Americans as they dealt with COVID-19 in their communities this spring, responded to George Floyd’s killing this summer, and then experienced this divisive election and its aftermath this fall.
>> ...the new president-elect
Joe Biden faces... >> ...America has decided to go
another way... >> ...Trump campaign is saying
hold on we're fighting the legal battle...
>> NARRATOR: A bitterly contested election
in a country on edge. >> Not in my country!
>> NARRATOR: Over the past year, a team of filmmakers
across the United States has been documenting the
hopes and fears of Americans. >> (chanting)
>> ...keep going... >> ...engage...
>> Their right are being taken away...
>> NARRATOR: From the earliest days of the pandemic--
the impact on health... >> I love you so much.
>> It’s just kind of a blur what happened after I got
intubated. >> NARRATOR: And the economy.
>> We tried putting in for the small business loan,
unfortunately, we weren’t approved.
>> We are the free people of America.
>> NARRATOR: To a summer of protest--
>> As long as they catch one dirty cop at a time,
I’m happy. One at a time.
>> NARRATOR: The backlash-- >> (shouting)
>> NARRATOR: And ultimately, the election that roused
a deeply divided nation-- and the aftermath.
>> (chanting) Trump 2020! Trump 2020!
(cars honking) >> NARRATOR: Now, a FRONTLINE
special presentation-- >> We want to live!
>> NARRATOR: “American Voices: A Nation in Turmoil”.
>> How can I love America? I can't... I don't think I can
love America, I can't put that into words.
>> We don't know when it's gonna pass.
>> I feel a revolution coming, it's getting closer every day.
>> I have learnt to love being alone.
♪ ♪ >> NARRATOR: These are the
voices of Americans. (overlapping voices)
>> People are getting angrier and angrier.
>> I wanna be in charge of my own life!
>> NARRATOR: Gathered from across a divided nation...
>> We're just going too far in opposite directions.
>> Just set the scene for us, how are you feeling?
Give us a clap, first. >> NARRATOR: In this film,
Americans reflect on a year of turmoil...
>> It's never gonna be the same after this.
>> I wish there wasn't as much hate in this world as what we
have. (riot guns)
>> We're scared to death of this thing and nobody wants to die.
>> We have no reason to trust the state.
>> I'm not going to tolerate somebody telling me how I need
to live my life. >> NARRATOR: A pastor, a barber,
an activist, a mother, a retiree, the owners
of a nail salon, and of a construction company,
and a flower shop, a doctor, and patient.
Their stories begin in March 2020, as COVID was spreading,
and the country was shutting down.
>> CDC says there are now more than 4,200 cases of coronavirus.
>> In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds has recommended...
>> Mass gatherings are restricted to less than ten
people... (radio fading)
>> Who so falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour
be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
All the people, the nations and the languages fell down and
worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set
up. My name is Cary Gordon.
I'm the senior pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach in
Sioux City, Iowa. How do I water baptize someone
in a virtual service? How do I bury the dead?
How do I have a wedding? How are people supposed to have
me lay my hands upon them and anoint them with oil and pray
over them to be healed in the midst of a pandemic when I'm
told that I can't have physical contact?
♪ ♪ Last Sunday morning, I drove
past Menards. Menards is a lumberyard,
hundreds of cars. And only a quarter mile away
my church in contrast, I know is empty, because they've said,
"The church is not essential." The church is not essential.
In a time of crisis with imminent death and a pandemic,
the church is not essential, but Menards can stay open,
someone might need to buy a screwdriver.
It's offensive. >> New numbers show the damage
coronavirus has inflicted upon Oregon's economy.
266,000 Oregonians are without a job...
>> Unemployment is at a record high in Oregon...
>> People are spooked because of COVID.
They're scared to death of this thing and nobody wants to die
going out the house getting a haircut.
♪ ♪ My name is Bryant Moore.
I'm a barber from Portland, Oregon.
♪ ♪ The bills keep stacking up...
with no money coming in. Scared to look at the bills
from our business, 'cause I can't pay.
So I'll survive by just doing what I have to do to make it,
man, you know, it's... If I would go to a senior's
house or go to a bus stop, I couldn't do anything else, I had
to make do. >> So I'm having a get together
at my house. So I escaped, came here.
I gotta get my hair done. He got to get his money.
Gonna go back looking fly. >> My business is one of
those things where it makes you feel good.
Which we really all need to be feeling good right now.
(chuckles) You know? It's just a common human thing
to do, it's human to make people feel good.
>> Oh, yeah, go for a queen. That part.
>> I'm hopeful. This may be the right thing
to stop all this fighting among each other.
You know, Democrat, Republican, independent, Black, white,
yellow, whatever. So this might be the right
thing. Because what I've been seeing
is folks been sticking together. It doesn't matter what color
they are. I mean, seeing it in person.
>> ♪ Back and forth, and in and out, and back and forth again...
♪ For we are strong people, and we will come out of this and be
on top again. ♪ I do believe.
>> The coronavirus pandemic is putting an end to the longest
economic expansion in U.S. history.
>> We are going into a global recession.
>> Entire parts of the U.S. economy are at a complete
standstill. >> People are afraid to go out.
People are afraid even to call and have something delivered.
It's just a total different... >> Half the businesses are
broke. Or they're out of business.
>> When I started my flower shop, I started with two used
cooler boxes, and a piece of plyboard across the top of the
boxes in our yard. That's how I started.
Do you need a receipt? >> Um, sure.
>> Thank you so much. Keep me posted on that wedding.
>> I will for sure. >> All right... bye bye!
>> Bye! >> I've been here in this one,
probably 24 years in this one spot, so I'm kind of a staple
here. But it's kind of sad to only
see this many orders on my board.
Because normally should be about 50 to 60 orders on my board for
Easter. And I have one, two, three,
four, five... six. So I better do a pray dance
Oh, I don't know. It is what it is.
Is what it is... Okay, it's done.
>> Which one's that? >> This is your last one to
Auburn. >> Where's Sharon's?
>> I haven't done it yet, but it's too early to take hers.
>> Oh, I thought you said I was gonna take it now.
>> No. >> I didn't see...
>> My husband does my deliveries as much as he can do.
We're just a two-man team just trying to survive.
>> We got married when we were 18.
We dated in high school. From the first time we met we
were each other's best friends, because everybody knows Rosie.
She's a pretty special woman. I personally have a problem
with a mask at times because of my congestive heart failure.
There's times I'm fighting for air.
Hello, delivery for Pat. "But you don't want to wear a
mask because it's not going to save you," well, no, it's not
going to save you, but you might save somebody else's life.
>> Governor Ralph Northam and his COVID-19 response team...
>> See another spike in cases... >> Repeal the state's stay-at-
home order... >> Social distancing guidelines
are going to be with us... >> My immune system is weakened.
So I have learnt to love being alone.
I have learned to be pretty darn comfortable.
♪ ♪ Oh, Lord, technology...
just not my thing. My name is Carran Lewis, I live
in North Chesterfield, Virginia. Yeah, good morning Second
Baptist, praise the Lord, everybody.
I drive close to an hour from my home to church.
I got a heavy foot, but if I followed the law, it would be
clearly an hour drive. >> Welcome to the Second Baptist
Church of South Richmond, a caring and sharing church
bringing you the word of God. >> I have enjoyed the comfort of
waking up and listening to it online.
>> We're now going to have a virtual Peter verse selection
from the mass choir... >> I miss the environment of
the building. But that is what it is, a
building, because the people, we are the church.
The physical human beings are the church.
>> What's going on in the White House, or the state house,
or the mayor's house oftentimes is not based on...
>> I've still helped people, even in this virus, I've picked
up groceries for a couple of friends, older people that could
not go out, didn't have the means to go out.
And they know my number. >> Our seniors, amen, because
of COVID-19, should not be out and about...
>> That's right. That's part of what God wants
you to do, you know. Just help people.
♪ For all you've done ♪ ♪ For me ♪
This is the part that's scary. I think some people are getting
too comfortable being at home watching the service.
♪ They all belong to you ♪ ♪ Thank you, Jesus ♪
♪ For blessing me ♪ >> President Trump appears to be
stoking unrest in states around the U.S...
>> Where long-term damage from a shuttered economy...
>> Signs urging leaders to re-open Utah...
>> You can't do one size fits all.
You can't shut everybody in, you can't make healthy people
wear masks. Oh, that's looking nice.
You look so happy about it. I am Amy Garner.
And I am a mom of six kids. Okay, where did you want the
bow? We say, like, economy, sometimes
we just think of finances as a whole of society, but instead
I see my brother, whose business was going down.
That triggered the stress, which triggered his health issues,
which triggered his mental health issues, and he was gone
in 60 days. Three years ago, he took his
life. This is my brother, Brian.
I wanted to save other families from going through what we went
through. (voice cracking): Sorry.
So that's why I became so passionate about not shutting
things down, letting people choose.
>> Are we sheep or are we people?
>> People! >> Let's go to work!
>> That doesn't mean that we don't believe there are people
at extra risk, or that we don't love them or accept their
concerns. I'm like, mine says, my... our
definition, oh, "Your definition of essential is not the same as
mine." So, I'm like, they really are
missing out on the hardworking people who can't earn money for
their family, like... I think the rate of suicide
is going to go way higher. You take away people's
connections, their hobbies, their friends, their worship,
their work, and everyone's gonna be depressed!
And I am so blessed to have a family of children and a
husband. What about the people who don't?
It's heartbreaking. >> Small business is the
lifeblood of this country, and we cannot kill it any
longer. We are open for business today!
>> This is my first rally, so I'm really happy to be here
with all of you guys, all of you patriots, all of you activists!
>> I really hope people will let go of what we're stuck in,
what we're stressed out about right now, and take into
consideration the long-term impact of what's going on.
>> ♪ God bless America My home sweet home ♪
(cheers and applause) >> Mr. Trump is now insisting
the states have to step up their testing.
>> Fewer than than one percent of all Texans have been
tested... >> Testing will be a big factor
in making sure Texans are healthy enough to fully reopen
the economy. >> Clearly, we're in the middle
of a pandemic, and we're suffering much worse than we
would have had we had a competent, science-based head of
state. My name is Dr. Christine Edy
Mann, I am a family practice doctor in Cedar Park.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, we were left without
any guidance. Individual clinics like mine,
doctors like me, weren't really given any information
about how to manage the pandemic, and so we kind of all
had to make it up on the fly. We didn't know the processes
that we needed to use to be able to manage patients as they
came in. It takes between one and three
days to get a result. Sorry...
(patient coughing) >> I'm one of the COVID-19
testers at my workplace. This is a deep nasal swab, it's
very uncomfortable. Pull your mask down, I think
you've had this before so you know what's coming...
We didn't have equipment, we didn't have test kits, and
it was very stressful. (indistinct chatter)
It was just a mess for months and months and months.
♪ ♪ >> The number of deaths in the
United States has now reached a stunning 50,000.
>> Had at least one underlying health issue...
>> A new effort to keep Chicagoans safe during the
COIVD-19 pandemic... >> In early April was when I
started feeling lightheaded, dizzy, um... I was coughing.
I lost my sense of taste and smell.
Because I have an underlying condition, I thought my
symptoms were related to that. >> You're wearing your mask
wrong. You have to cover your nose.
My name is Mayra Ramirez. I am 28 years old.
(chuckling) One day I woke up, I was so
weak, I just fell over. (breathing deeply and rapidly)
Everything was, like, dark. And I remember calling out for
my boyfriend, I was like, "George, George," like, and
he would, like, run and, like, help me, and I was like, "Okay,
I really need to go to the emergency room."
They, like, immediately, like, put me in a room, didn't even
ask me my name or anything. (medical equipment beeping)
I remember a doctor came in and told me that, "We're pretty
sure we're gonna have to intubate you, do you have
someone that can make medical decisions for you?"
Then, um... it's just kind of a blur, what happened after I got
intubated. ♪ ♪
>> The day they told us that Mayra, um, it was her last day,
we're all on the trampoline, just... my mom was crying, um,
my sisters, all my aunts were there, they were crying.
They didn't know what to do. And we were just planning, um,
to go pick up a corpse. I was trying to avoid it.
>> I love you so much. >> Uh-oh (chuckles).
>> Medical people are wonderful people, they're heroes.
But they're not omniscient. And they make mistakes and they
contradict one another. Everyone's going to die at some
point. As a Christian, we believe that
we're set free from the fear of death.
>> Do you have any hand sanitizer?
>> We do. >> We're spiritual beings and
we require fellowship. >> It's a beautiful day!
>> I know, it's gorgeous! >> If it's okay to take a risk
and go to stores, I think it's okay to take a risk and go to
church. >> 99.6.
>> Phew! >> Try to keep families
together! (people chatting)
>> Welcome back into the church building!
(cheers and applause) (chuckles)
Whoo-hoo! (cheers and applause)
Praise the Lord! We're going to teach you a new
song this morning as we re-enter the church, you can stand with
us. ♪ ♪
♪ Oh, Christ be magnified ♪ ♪ Just let his prayers arise ♪
♪ Christ be magnified in me ♪ Hallelujah!
I said hallelujah! (overlapping chatter)
>> The attempted arrest was caught on camera.
The video of last night's confrontation shows a white
police officer with his knee pinning down the neck...
>> His name was George Floyd, he's on video saying, "Please,
please, I can't breathe" as a Minneapolis police officer...
>> We're just like, man, this is crazy... we're already
fighting a common terror, which is COVID, and now this now?
You know, people were just pissed off, like, this is just
ridiculous-- how can you kill this man?
>> No justice, no peace, prosecute the police!
>> The outrage began with a video showing an officer
kneeling on Floyd's neck. >> Many people have gathered in
front of the third precinct... >> Sitting here in front of
officers who are complicit in the murder of George Floyd.
>> Thousands packed the area... >> Protesting the death of
George Floyd. >> How many times have we
watched police officers murder people?
(crowd reacting) >> You're numb to it after so
many of them. It's been happening for so long.
>> Don't shoot, hand's up! >> But then it's a little
different, you're like, wow, that just happened right here on
38th. The fact that it happened in my
neighborhood was what really pulled me into it.
(overlapping chatter) People are getting angrier,
and angrier, and angrier, and then hold up...
We have a whole bunch of police with helmets right in front of
us. (glass shattering)
>> Crowds of protestors facing off with officers in riot gear.
(explosion booms) (explosions boom)
(woman screaming) >> (chanting): I can't breathe!
>> Protests turned violent last night.
>> Overnight protests left parts of downtown in ruins.
>> Multiple fires were set, windows smashed, and stores
looted. >> As far as volunteering
efforts go, so far you're our go-to volunteer coordinator
right? >> Yeah.
>> So we really have to get her engaged with...
>> Them. >> Them.
My name is Tayo Daniel. I'm from South Minneapolis,
Minnesota, co founder of 10K. You know, we were listening to
the news, and the narrative that they're spreading was like,
"Oh these looters and rioters, people from Minneapolis, just
burning down their own city" and all that kind of stuff, and I
I was like, man... I'm from here and I know everybody that
lives here, we're not like that. So a lot of guys from the
neighborhood decided to get together and create the 10K
Foundation. And we want to show that we
can have a peaceful protest. >> 10K is about, it's about
mobilizing 10,000 people and the power in that, the sovereignty
in being able to mobilize 10,000 people.
I'm Royce White, I grew up here in the Twin Cities.
I was an athlete. I was drafted to the NBA back
in 2013, and had a huge fight with the NBA regarding mental
health policy. You know, when all the protests
broke out, my first thought was, I'm headed down there.
I'm not gonna claim to have a crystal ball as to what's
gonna happen, I really have no clue.
I'm just going off of pure opinion.
The four officers were arrested and, temporarily, that's enough
justice until we wait and see what happens with the court
process. I know people are still very
unhappy, they're not in the uproar that they were in,
obviously, when the city was burning down or even a few days
ago when we marched. Ever day we get away from it,
that energy's gonna go down a little bit.
I think it's spiking up in other places around the country.
I want the goal of this march to be how can we re-grab some
of that energy? ♪ ♪
(helicopter droning) >> The reason why we're here is
because the history has been misconstrued, because every 4th
of July I used to go out and party, and I used to just...
really scream independence. Not realizing that my ancestors
with the same color skin of mine were not independent.
They were in chains, they were being whipped, they were being
tortured. People, the time is right now.
Can everybody say that one time? On the count of three say the
"The time is now," one, two, three!
>> The time is now! >> Say it again!
>> The time is now! >> Louder!
>> The time is now! >> The time is right now.
♪ ♪ (chains dragging)
>> Look, we did our best to think through how the protests
would put people at risk for COVID-19 transmission.
But, at the end of the day, there's no way that we could
allow the state to tell us, "Hey, we're going to kill Black
men out on the streets, and also, stay in your house
because we also... you know, because of COVID-19."
♪ ♪ If you think about the
historical context of Black men, Black people in this
country in general, we have no reason to trust the state.
In general, when we wake up in the morning, there's no good
reason for us to have any faith in the state.
And maybe in times where there needs to be a trust, it falls
through. Yeah, maybe Black people should
have more trust in the state when it comes to COVID-19, but
it's a tough sell. >> The reason why we're doing
this silent march is because when you take a moment of
silence, you're taking a moment of silence for the dead.
For the Eric Garners, for the Breonna Taylors, for the George
Floyds. >> Hey, it is what it is, this
is a war. This is a war.
And so the only other option is to, you know, board up in
your house and wait for the next George Floyd to be murdered.
I mean, that's just the reality. (light chatter, shuffling)
>> Protestors have been on the streets of Richmond for several
weeks now. >> The one-time capital of the
Confederacy is in the throes of change as statues
commemorating confederate leaders come down...
>> I am grateful to this generation of Black youth and
white youth that are not rioting, they're protesting,
and they're smart, and they're doing it right.
I'm going in from over here... I decided one Sunday, I said
you know what, I'm stepping out on faith, I'm going down to see
what this it's about. >> Black Lives Matter!
>> I kept seeing it on the news and I just did not believe the
way media was portraying it, that it was that bad.
>> Do you understand you are a spirit being that lives in a
body, your body will die... >> Understand, I'm 63, I'm
deadly afraid of COVID, but it's worth it to come out and show my
support. >> Black Lives Matter, may all
lives matter, I'mma stand for something.
>> I met some terrific people, had great conversations with
The diversity is what makes me feel good about it.
The Black and the whites are coming out here.
And as long as they catch one dirty cop at a time, one dirty
racist, dirty politician, dirty lawyer-- I'm happy, one at a
time. 'Cause this is 400 years of
this (bleep). (overlapping voices)
>> We are out here to end systematic racism.
We're out here to defund the police.
I grew up in rural Virginia, the closest town was Bowling
Green. There were some whites that we
talked with, but I didn't play with any, it was no white kids
up the street that I played with or anything, they didn't do...
we didn't do that in my era. (drumming, laughter)
That's where I grew up as a child.
Yeah. I'm at the monument right now as
we speak. Having big fun, man.
(fireworks crackling, whistling)
Each experience I had out here has been different.
>> We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues or
erase our history. >> I come early and I leave
before it gets too late. (crowd shouting indistinctly)
One evening I didn't understand what was happening when I saw
like 14 police cars coming up in front of the area.
(crowd shouting) And I just begged them to allow
me to go to my car and leave. I just wanna go home, please.
I just wanna go home. My car's (indistinct)... I can't
get over there. >> You can go wait in your car.
We'll be out of here in just a second.
We'll be out of here in just a second.
You can go wait in your car. >> And they were very kind.
They even helped me get out and I was gone.
♪ ♪ Caucasian people, white people,
that I have known for years are very decent people on the
surface. I don't understand why they
can't see what we're seeing. All I can do is just shake my
head. (indistinct chatter)
>> Another intense night here in the city of Richmond as
protestors took to the streets...
>> A peaceful protest in Virginia also turned violent
on Saturday night. People in Richmond marched...
>> I don't think our country could be any more divided than
we are right now. The country is, is horribly
divided right now and, and more divided than we ever have been.
And for what? For what gain?
My name is Mark Curtis. I'm a father of four young kids.
I'm also a business owner. I own a construction company.
I'm huge rights activist. I believe in our constitution.
I believe in the way our constitution was intended to be
read and not interpreted. If anybody had told us this was
gonna ended up happening, nobody would have believed it.
No. >> Like I say, racism is out
there. That's what it is.
(Bleep), I got more Black friends than I could ever
imagine. I got one Black friend
and I specifically tell people that that's my brother.
(both laughing) And we talk about it all the
time. It's ridiculous, man.
>> People that are doing all this are just out just to wreck
stuff. >> My same buddy that I call my
brother he said it too. He said, "Man, it's crazy,"
because they say it's a Black Lives Matter thing, but yet
they're going in and destroying old Black people's businesses
that live in Richmond. >> Yeah.
>> You know what I mean? >> I don't know how everything
got so race-oriented all of a sudden here within the past
year, honestly. Um... that, that kind of blows
my mind. ♪ ♪
So as far as the platform or the cause that the Black Lives
Matter rallies are for, I think raising awareness for police
brutality, sure. If you want to focus on any
aspect of it that could have a positive effect on the American
people, you could bring up that one aspect of it.
But it doesn't just happen to Black folks, happens to white
folks, happens to Asian folks. It happens across all walks of
life, no matter what color you are, no matter what race you
are. >> Are we jumping?
>> We all need to work together in a common cause to defend our
freedoms. Not to fight against each other
and empower more regulation against us.
(indistinct chatter) >> Two crises have converged:
protests over the death of George Floyd and the pandemic.
The U.S. death toll now topping 104,000, the most in any
country... >> Right now we have a situation
where Black Americans die out of proportion to any kind of
parameter that you can think of. >> All lives do matter but they
won't until Black lives matter first.
(crowd cheering, applauding) Sometimes when you have
specific type of community that's hurting, it is okay to
focus on them for a little while until things get better.
And then when they do get better, then all lives will
matter. (cheers and applause)
>> When the George Floyd murder occurred, it was in the middle
of this pandemic. And so, for me as a healthcare
provider, I really felt that it was my responsibility to not
expose myself to the potential for getting the disease and
spreading on to my patients. (crowd chanting)
But I was happy that so many people were coming out of their
homes and out of their workplaces to be involved in
those protests. >> Black Lives Matter!
>> We were there, you know, in in solidarity.
We have a very long history of systemic racism in this country
that persists today. You have to look at the lives
that are most at risk in our country.
The ones that are being lost out of proportion to every other
category of American. >> Black Lives Matter!
>> Black Lives Matter! >> Protests turned violent after
demonstrators clashed with Oakland police officers.
There is significant property damage to
businesses in the downtown area of Oakland after these protests
last night. >> My understanding is it's
actually a good movement, in my opinion, but there's just a
bunch of other protesters, a small percentage of it, that
are... they're giving it a bad name.
♪ ♪ My name is Jason Tolentino and
I own a nail salon. >> Well, actually, I'm the one
who wanted to open a shop. My name is Jamie, I'm from
Vietnam. >> No way!
>> Oh no! >> Really?!
It's all closed. >> I told myself before I'm 30
I will own something. So when I'm 28, just take all
the money for our wedding, just to go buy a shop and start a
business. ♪ ♪
>> We've been open for about three years, and so far,
everything's great. Besides this, of course.
The pandemic has taken a huge toll.
We're just trying to get by doing whatever we can to
survive. ♪ ♪
Then now when we have this going on, which made it even
worse. It's mainly just for insurance
purposes. If it did get vandalized or
looted it's not fair for someone like
me who's trying to make this community better.
And next thing you know someone just takes it away and ruins the
whole business itself. There is the racism in America.
And, at the moment, I think it's just getting worse.
African Americans, they just want to not be harassed by the
law. There's nothing wrong with
protesting. You can protest all you want.
We live in America. But when you start vandalizing
small businesses, that part is wrong.
(overlapping voices) >> Now amidst of all this chaos
and turmoil in the country right now, it could be easy to forget
that we are still in a pandemic. >> One of the first known
American COVID-19 survivors to receive a double lung transplant
is now recovering. 28-year-old Mayra Ramirez
received a lung transplant at Northwestern Medicine in
Chicago. >> When I first woke up from my
lung transplant, I was a vegetable, I couldn't move a
finger, I couldn't, you know, I could barely wiggle my toes.
I couldn't talk. I was in a lot of pain, I was
uncomfortable. I was like really disoriented at
the time. I felt like I had only been
there for like three days or so. I didn't realize that I was
intubated and sedated for six weeks.
(shouting, explosion, sparks) The TV would be on and, you
know, they would talk about all these riots that were happening,
and George Floyd, and protest. I was like, "Can I just go back
to being sedated? Like can I wake up when this is
over?" The world was so ugly.
Literally, cities are burning. I, I just couldn't take it.
>> The radical Dems are pushing as many left-wing activists and
anarchists as they can into the streets of America.
I understand the president is on the phone now.
>> Well maybe the point of great success, you know...
>> My feelings with the Black Lives Matter is all lives
matter. Not just Black, not pink, white
or purple. It's not just one race.
I think it's wrong, basically, what the officer did.
I think he should pay a price for what he did.
But I look back in history. I had a great-great-grandfather
that helped with the slaves. He helped run the Underground
Railroad. He was ambushed by white people
who felt the slaves should stay slaves.
So, you know, when they sit there and say every white
person is racist or bad, I'm not racist.
I'm not bad. I'm a human being.
I respect them. I expect to be respected back.
>> George Floyd's name is on a list now, a very long list, a
centuries-old history... >> People told me that these
protests had become about more than George Floyd.
That they're about this long history of police brutality.
>> All you have to do is look at history.
If you flip the pages back from history, it speaks for itself.
>> There is another vigil for George Floyd that is getting
underway right now at Peninsula Park.
>> I keep seeing African American people get killed by
cops all across the nation... (crowd chanting)
...and nothing's happening. >> No peace!
>> You look at American history and it's ugly.
(cheers and applause) People are hurt, people are
tired of... they're tired of being tired.
>> They're sworn to protect this country...
>> When I look at history, we protest.
Nothing changed. We protest now.
Nothing's really changing. And that's hurtful.
>> From day one, America has been based off of the
subjugation of Black and indigenous people.
(cheers and applause) >> Yes!
Yes! Speak it, sister!
How can I love America? I can't-- I don't think I can
love America. America hasn't loved me, that's
for damn sure. >> Power to the people!
>> Power to the people! >> Power to the people!
>> Power to the people! >> Black Power!
>> Black Power! >> Black Power!
>> Black Power! >> Power to the people!
>> Power to the people! >> All power to the people!
>> All power to the people! The fight is real.
But it's always been here. Now it's to the surface in 2020.
Now where do we go from here? >> You need to get off your damn
phones and recording (bleep) and (bleep) start getting
active! (cheers and applause)
>> Millions of people all across America are casting their votes
on who they want to lead the country for the next...
>> It has been a campaign year unlike any other and now 100
million people have voted already.
>> Record breaking early voting continues.
Massive early vote total includes more than seven million
Californians who have already returned their mail-in ballots.
>> I wish there wasn't as much hate in this world as what we
have. I don't care if you're a Dem, I
don't care if you're Republican, I don't care if you're in the
middle. There's so much hate.
I hope President Trump wins. Vice President Biden, I feel,
is-- and I hate to say the age thing, because he's probably my
age maybe. Oh my he is...
I don't know how old he is. Um... I think he's too old.
I think he's too feeble in his mind.
I just wish it was over. Yay!
(chuckling) >> Illinois election officials
reporting seeing early voting numbers they have not seen in
prior elections. >> Recovery is pretty slow and
really hard. I have someone else's lungs and
be like a slap in the face if I didn't try my hardest.
>> You're here to vote? >> Mm-hmm.
>> Okay, so you're going to go through the revolving doors.
>> I avoid going anywhere. So I requested the mail-in
ballot, but it never arrived. Hi.
Um... Mayra Ramirez. I saw one person who like didn't
have their mask on properly and that upset me a little bit.
My umber one topic of interest during this election is, you
know, healthcare reform. I think this is the first time
that during an election that we've actually expected like
riots and violence and protests. Regardless of how the results
go, I think we're all still expecting it.
♪ ♪ >> So far this election is on
track to set a record. >> California's top election
official assuring folks there are safe ways to vote during a
pandemic. All ballots will be...
>> All right, everything's... >> Did I put my name here?
>> No! >> You gotta sign...
Well I got no pen. Now we gotta walk back out
again. You have a pen?
You gotta put your address... It literally says on the top
it's gonna invalidate it if you don't sign it.
>> Whoa! (laughing)
>> Um, I would rather not say who I voted for.
I just want everything to come back to normal.
That's all. That's all I'm praying for
really. People will be surprised, but I
don't want to say who I voted for.
>> I just vote for myself or I vote for the lady!
No, I vote for the lady! >> You voted for that lady.
You don't even know her name. >> I don't know who she is, but
it seem like she's the only lady, so I vote for the lady.
♪ ♪ I vote for the woman!
>> Well, you have a right to do that.
♪ ♪ >> It's been a while since I
voted, you know, due to my situation.
I'm here at the polling station. I'm here with my dad-- the O.G.
I made a lot of bad decisions when I was younger.
Getting in fights, had an assault charge, things like
that. Trying to do the right thing.
It's never too late to do the right thing.
That's for sure. I've made a vow to myself that
I'll never do nothing illegal again.
You know, I'll never go to jail again.
I need to register. So I just felt privileged to be
able to get out and vote. There are a lot of people that
are not allowed to vote or can't vote so it's important that the
people who have the privilege of voting take that step and make
that initiative. >> The polls in Iowa are open
until 9:00 tonight for anyone who chooses to vote in person.
Across the state there are about 1,200 locations.
>> Gonna have to put this on now.
You're supposed to find people that represent you, Donald Trump
cannot represent me, he does not represent my beliefs.
Of course, I can't vote for Joe Biden for the very same reason.
>> Thank you for voting. (indistinct chatter)
>> I will sleep good tonight. Because someday, as a Christian,
I believe Christ will return and all wrongs will be righted and
justice will prevail. And my job is to keep speaking
the truth as a minister. >> Big race, big electoral
vote fight tonight, too early to call.
>> We will be getting some results, actually we think, this
hour from Kentucky from Indiana, all the poles
not closed... >> I'm equally excited and
nervous. I've been thinking about how
four years ago, I didn't think I was going to make it four years.
Joe Biden was not my first choice.
My first choice was Kamala Harris, who thankfully is the
vice presidential candidate, soon to be vice president.
>> In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts...
>> Yay! Joe Biden wins Massachusetts!
>> ...Joe Biden the projected winner tonight.
>> My gut is telling me Biden's gonna win.
But I'm so nervous about the possibility of a contested
election. But I think that it's unlikely.
I think that we're going to have a good win tonight.
>> We are still in the thick of a very heated contest.
>> It is closer than the Democrats wanted it to be.
It is closer than any Democrat is comfortable with right now.
We'll have to wait and see how that comes in.
>> I anticipate some very uneasy people on either or both sides
angry about not getting their way.
(nearby drumming) Whoever wins, which I hope it is
not Trump, we should come together.
(crowd singing indistinctly) This week I felt
kind of like a sigh of relief, like I was feeling, like, things
are changing, things are shifting in, in a different
direction. (crowd singing indistinctly)
You know, it was, it was an invigorating space to see a lot
of people that not necessarily look like me, but wanted the
same types of things that I want in America.
>> Vice President Joe Biden will win Pennsylvania and Nevada,
putting him over the 270... >> Across the country, pro-Trump
protesters gathering at state capitols, echoing the president
that the election was stolen. (engine revving, crowd cheering)
(tires squeal) >> Because I was really just so
sick of politics I wanted to write in Jesus.
(laughs) But that doesn't do anything.
So, I was surprised, I felt prompted to vote for Trump.
>> We are very much in a spiritual battle right now.
We are invoking Christ, because Christ is the way, and Christ is
the only way that we're going to triumph over evil.
(cheers and applause) >> I really hope representatives
will be the voice of the people, and that there will be a middle
ground. Biden probably can't accomplish
everything he wants, but a part of me feels devastated because I
feel like it's taking society in a completely different
direction. >> Stand by and stand down.
No, we're not standing down. We're here, we're gonna stand.
We're gonna stand fast. We're gonna wait for orders.
>> Cheers and celebrations in the streets of Minneapolis.
>> Celebrations by Joe Biden supporters have been going on
all day, including here in the metro.
(horns honking) >> Hey!
I'm just excited that overall that more people got involved in
the voting process. Because that way we're going
to be able to hold these elected officials more accountable.
(car horns honking) So I think a lot of people are
going to be looking at Joe Biden like, "Okay, you were talking
that talk, now are you gonna walk the walk?"
What do you guys think of the election?
>> Oh yeah! >> We're good.
>> I was relieved to the point where it's like, "Okay, this
step has been handled. Now, what's the next step?"
You know, it's not over, this is just the beginning.
(car horns honking) That's just one man.
The president doesn't make the world a better place, the people
make the world a better place. The people living in it.
(car horns honking) >> So let's talk about what
exactly happened and what this vote says about the country.
Joe Biden got a record number of votes.
>> We have half a nation that believes that we had an unfair
election. We have another half of the
nation that thinks everything is just great, wonderful.
I hope it's wrong, but I see too many comments by too many
people. I feel a revolution coming.
It's getting closer every day. Somebody is going to be dumb
enough to fire the first shot. And we're gonna have some
serious problems. I hope I'm wrong.
>> I hope you're wrong too. >> And I hope I'm not here to
see it. ♪ ♪
>> I'm ready for you... >> Okay, I'll be right there.
I think the immediate future holds turmoil and fear and
concern about where we go next. We are ready to do some COVID
testing now. I actually fear that people are
going to say, "Whew, Joe Biden won, we're done, we can go back
to doing and living our normal lives."
All right, this is a nasal swab. Both sides of your nose.
Anyone who thinks that the election getting called is the
end of the work that needs to be done is mistaken.
And we'll have results for you within 24 hours.
♪ ♪ >> I have no regrets about
voting for the Libertarian candidate.
I'm tired of people voting for the lesser of two evils.
You know, voting Democrat because it's not Trump.
Or voting Republican because it's not Biden.
Wouldn't've really mattered who got in office, I feel like
they're one in the same. I think our culture is going to
stay divided. The division that has been
created here recently is, is something that we've regressed
to. That's going to take generations
to recover. I think our culture is going to
be horribly scarred by this. And I don't know what it's going
to be blamed on in the end, or how it's going to be spun, but I
think our culture in a whole has gone down a deep, deep, dark
hole. ♪ ♪
>> Whoo-hoo! President Biden!
Yay! That was for you.
We have a president. ♪ Let there be peace on Earth
And let it begin with me. ♪ He can't fix this mess
overnight. You can't fix it in a week, a
month, but it's over. Thank goodness, it's over.
♪ Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now. ♪
But now we worry about what's going to happen next.
Let there be peace. (crickets chirping)
>> Go to pbs.org/frontline
for an interview with the filmmakers about how they found
and followed their subjects. >> I don't know how everything
got so race oriented all of a sudden.
>> It's always been here. Now it's to the surface in 2020.
Now where do we go from here? >> And learn more about the
communities covered in the film. Connect to the FRONTLINE
community on Facebook and Twitter,
and stream anytime on the PBS Video App or
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH
access.wgbh.org >> For more on this and other
"Frontline" programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline.
♪ ♪ FRONTLINE's,
"American Voices: A Nation in Turmoil" is available on Amazon
Prime Video. ♪ ♪