Monday, February 24, 2020

You Say You Want A Revolution

We look at our political and cultural divide today and think that it can’t get much worse. What we forget is that it has been worse. Not just when policy matters were settled by a duel or literally pitted brother against brother, but even in the 1960s and 1970s  when students where shot at Kent State. Law enforcement was murdered in politically motivated robberies, and even the bombing of the US Capitol was part of our contemporary political history and division.

A powerful example of this period is a group of left wing women fresh from their time in the Weather Underground. They got together in the early 1980s in the first blush of the Reagan years to become essentially domestic terrorists bent on opposing the political, corporate, and government ideologies of the time.

William Rosenau, takes us back to that time in his recent book Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol: The Explosive Story of M19, America's First Female Terrorist Group.

My WhoWhatWhy conversation with William Rosenau:




Thursday, February 13, 2020

Nicholas Kristoff & Sheryl WuDunn: Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

Back in 1962, sociologist and political activist Michael Harrington published a book entitled The Other America. In it, he argued that a full twenty-five percent of Americans were living in poverty. The book had a profound impact on both Jack and Bobby Kennedy and some said it was responsible for Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Forty-one years later in 2003, John Edwards spoke of “two Americas.” A nation divided by race, and by poverty.

And today, a full 58 years after Harrington’s look at poverty, the homeless crises is worse than ever, the streets of cities, large and small, are living evidence. The opiate and drug crises have hollowed out a large part of the country and the latest proposed federal budget reaches new heights in cutting social safety net programs.

It’s hard to think there is hope...for the country or for those left behind.

This is the world that Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn look at though a very personal lens in their book Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope.

My conversation with Nicholas Kristoff & Sheryl WuDunn:



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Can We Distance Ourselves From the Sins of Our Parents? A Conversation with the Daughter of George Wallace

It’s hard to make the point in our 24/7 information-saturated culture, but all of us, politicians included, are a lot more than the worst or even the best thing that we have ever done.

Couple that with the fact that times change so quickly, values change, norms change and what might have been acceptable in 1962 certainly would get you fired today. This is perhaps most true with respect to the subject of race, the singular stain of our founders that we have worked 240 + years to try and redress.

The story of race is a long complicated one and former Alabama Governor George Wallace was a part of it. Today, his daughter Peggy Wallace Kennedy tries to put her fathers life in perspective. People like the great John Lewis and Congresswoman Barbara Lee have lent their hands to help her in that effort. All while our current president tries to rekindle the hatred she has worked hard to try and extinguish.

Peggy Wallace Kennedy talks to me about her memoir The Broken Road: George Wallace and a Daughter’s Journey to Reconciliation and about her recollection of her father.

My conversation with Peggy Wallace Kennedy: