What If We Didn’t...?: An introduction

Collage of "What If We Didn’t?" text and many different photos of different people

This year, Americans want change. From the grassroots movement for gun control storming our cities and the surge of progressives running for office in our upcoming elections, to the ripple effects of the #MeToo movement and the enduring fight for black lives, an eagerness for transformation is the air. It’s urgent, it’s pervasive and it’s been spreading for the past ... let’s say, 14 months and 20 days.

Change, of course, begins with understanding. In order to transform the systems we’re entrenched in, to rethink the tired notions and damaging institutions that shape our daily lives, to shake off what suppresses our independence, entraps and literally kill us, we need to understand exactly how we got here. But how will we bring about monumental change without understanding the failures of the past, and truly challenging the accepted wisdom of today?

For Mic’s latest series, we’re taking a look at the roots of our most pressing matters. First, we’ll be asking how, historically, each became the norm. Then we’ll be investigating how around the world these ideas and institutions are being or have been approached differently — for better or worse. Then, we’ll explore what would happen if we were to flip these ideas on their head. In other words … what if we didn’t have the second amendment? Unemployment? Banks? Police? What if we ditched the First Amendment, marijuana laws or Facebook?

Throughout April, we’ll be exploring all of this and more, via a series of written and video pieces. This project is meant to provide a deeper understanding of what shapes our lives. We believe that these pieces are an opportunity to provoke real thought, and possibly even spur some change of their own.

Find a list of our stories and videos below:

What if we didn’t... have the 1st Amendment?

What If We Didn’t... have the 2nd Amendment?

What If We Didn’t... have Facebook?

What If We Didn’t... have banks?

What If We Didn’t... have endless political campaigns?

What If We Didn’t... have any unemployment?

What If We Didn’t... have banks?

What If We Didn’t… jail people over marijuana?

What If We Didn’t... advertise food to children?