HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Jon Meacham on impeachmen...

Thu Nov 7, 2019, 09:54 AM

Jon Meacham on impeachment and the state of the country

Last edited Thu Nov 7, 2019, 11:04 AM - Edit history (2)

I don't agree with every single word (Reagan as one of the great presidents?? I beg to differ ), but overall there's lots of wisdom in article - a worthwhile read IMO.

https://time.com/5720747/jon-meacham-trump-impeachment-inquiry/

James Bryce, the English historian and statesman, arrived in America for an extended tour in the middle of the 1880s, at a time not unlike our own. It was the height of the Gilded Age, and the country was grappling with inequalities of wealth, rising levels of immigration, rapid economic transition and questions about the United States’ role in the world. An astute chronicler–he was a practicing politician, a venerable professor of civil law at Oxford, and would later serve as the British ambassador to the U.S.. . . Among his insights was a warning of the dangers of a renegade President. To Bryce, the real threat to the Constitution came as much from the people as from the White House. Disaster would strike American democracy, Bryce believed, at the hands of a demagogic President with an enthusiastic public base. “A bold President who knew himself to be supported by a majority in the country, might be tempted to override the law,” Bryce wrote. “He might be a tyrant, not against the masses, but with the masses.”
. . .
A tragic element of history is that every advance must contend with forces of reaction. In the years after Abraham Lincoln, the America that emancipated its enslaved population endured Reconstruction and a century of institutionalized white supremacy. Under Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the America that was rapidly industrializing and embracing many progressive reforms was plagued by theories of racial superiority and fears of the “other” that kept us from acting on the implications of the promise of the country. In the age of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the America that rescued capitalism, redefined the role of the state to lift up the weakest among us, and defeated fascism fell victim to racial hysteria and interned innocent Americans of Japanese descent. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower played critical roles in building an America of broadening wealth, and there was incremental progress on civil rights, in roughly the same years the country was roiled by McCarthyism and right-wing conspiracy theories. And the age of Barack Obama gave way to the age of the incumbent.
. . .
In his speech at American University in June 1963 proposing a ban on nuclear testing, President John F. Kennedy said, “Man can be as big as he wants.” Or as small. The risk we face often grows out of the anger of crowds–literal and, now, also virtual–of the alienated and the emboldened. The better Presidents, the better citizens, do not cater to such forces; they conquer them with a breadth of vision that speaks to the best parts of our soul.


Divisions of opinion are inherent to democracy. There was never a once-upon-a-time in American life, and there will never be a happily-ever-after. The world doesn’t work that way. Andrew Johnson survived impeachment; Richard Nixon’s support held until the very last moment of Watergate; Joe McCarthy’s red-baiting reign lasted not a season or a single cycle but four long years–and even when he’d fallen into disgrace, 34% of the country still supported him.The cheering news is that hope is not lost. “The people have often made mistakes,” Truman said, “but given time and the facts, they will make the corrections.” This isn’t a Republican point or a Democratic point. It’s not a red point or a blue point. It’s just a true point, drawn from any fair-minded reading of the American experience. Think about it: we honor liberators, not captors.From Seneca Falls to Fort Sumter; from Omaha Beach to the Edmund Pettus Bridge; from Soviet-occupied Berlin to Stonewall, Americans have sought to perfect our union and to nudge the world toward an ethos of liberty rather than tyranny.

2 replies, 916 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply Jon Meacham on impeachment and the state of the country (Original post)
MBS Nov 7 OP
Thomas Hurt Nov 7 #1
Nitram Nov 7 #2

Response to MBS (Original post)

Thu Nov 7, 2019, 10:17 AM

1. we honor liberators, not captors...

that is not true, we have honored liberators but we honor captors when it suits.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MBS (Original post)

Thu Nov 7, 2019, 12:33 PM

2. Several of the Founders also described a demagogue who won popular mob support was

the republic's greatest danger.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread