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Do Your Older Relatives Think We're Really Living In Unprecedented Times?

We'd like to hear what kinds of conversations you've been having with older relatives about the political climate.

Posted on October 7, 2020, at 10:35 a.m. ET

An older man wearing a face mask
Nathan Howard / Getty Images

Peter Buck of Olympia, Washington, wears a shirt that reads "Granddad for Democracy" during a protest against racial injustice and police brutality in front of the Mark O. Hatfield US Courthouse on July 31, 2020, in Portland, Oregon.

It’s less than 30 days away from the US presidential election. The White House is the site of a coronavirus outbreak, over 200,000 Americans have died from the virus, and American democracy itself is seemingly at stake next month. From the pandemic to the West Coast fires (and other indications that climate disaster is already here) to sweeping job loss and evictions and a massive mental health crisis, this shit is bleak — not to mention unprecedented.

But how unprecedented, exactly? This country has weathered plenty of crises in the past: world wars, economic depressions, slavery, and Jim Crow. Everyone I know is in a pit of existential despair right now, but as many historians, activists, and thinkers have pointed out, certain demographics of Americans have been in crisis for generations already.

Have you wondered how our current cultural moment relates to other American crises past — whether they ever felt quite like this, and if they did, how people managed to survive it all? And if you have, did you turn to your grandparents (or other more seasoned people in your life) to pick their brains about where the country’s been, any advice they have for coping, and where they think we should go from here?

If you’ve been having conversations with grandparents or other elderly relatives (or if you’d like to have one now!) about their thoughts about *waves hands* all this — BuzzFeed News would like to hear from you for a potential future story.

Tell us about your conversations in the hyperlinked survey here. You may be contacted for additional information.

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