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tv   Heather Mc Gee The Sum of Us and George Packer Last Best Hope  CSPAN  November 14, 2021 5:36pm-6:36pm EST

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television companies and more. >> the world has changed. the fast reliable internet connection is something that no one can live without. the speed, reliability value and choice. now more than ever, it starts with great internet. >> along with these television companies, so supporting c-span2 is a public service. >> book tv's coverage of the brooklyn book festival continues [applause] >> so, this would be the point of which i would read the bios on their website, but you have your phone. they are both great, heather and george. their books are great. i recommend them to the both of you. i thought maybe if you had not read their books, let's just start with a little bit of a capsule summary of them.
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what motivated you to write, when did you write? >> the last time we were here together i was interviewing you inside. about your wonderful book. you are so fabulous. i met 20 years ago, probably. you would come and get both of us. what a wonderful thing. thank you to the volunteers into the organizers. thank you all for coming out. [applause] >> racism because everyone in how we can prosper together out of frustration.
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out of frustration that my way of going out of economic inequality to put together research and help the policymakers make better economic policy decisions. we investigate these different tools why we had let this get in the way. who killed that, why did it have those policies to destroy the american dream and then cheer it on by the majority. particularly finding at its root this core lie, this worldview which is false but is quite predominant in u.s. society which is the idea that we are not all on the same team. we should reset one another's progress.
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that progress particularly for people of color had to come at white expense. a light bulb went off. it is self sabotaging. it is another concept that i developed in the course of this journey to write the book which is what happened to nearly 2000, some of the 2000 lavishly funded public swimming pools in the u.s. that were built in the 1930s and 40s. when many of them were racially segregated like much of the entire project of public goods and when they became integrated,
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many towns across the country drained their public pools rather than integrate them. the story of drained pool politics was another thing that helped me understand how we had moved from a public goods model, a public investment into the austerity that has brought us the inequality area. i had seen this happening in healthcare in the cost of college and our refusal to address local climate change through strong government action through collective actions, through labor unions, but i also ended the journey with a lot of hope. i began to call that a phenomenon called solidarity dividends. these games that they can unlock really realizing the promise of the many which in our contact has to be a many with all the difficulties and challenges and
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beautiful transformations at that requires. >> it is very good. >> it is long listed for a national book award. it is a very big deal. george, your book, you wrote a book which is a great book that i was very jealous of. one of those books that you read and you wish you had written. this book in some way seems like a sequel to that. even though it is called last best hope, it is a pretty doleful book, actually. i don't know. >> it's great to see you again.
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>> i was stuck with myself for months. beginning to hate myself and wanting to try to get them out. >> we may be entering a period of civil violence after the election and i did not want to be the only guy who could not defend himself and his family. my wife talked me out of it which was the right thing to deal. we did have violence. it took a few months. january 6 was the closest we have come to moment since 1861. we will have violence again. we are so far from out of the woods as far as the collision between a constitutional crisis, a demagogue taking on a large
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sector of the population and an entire party willing and even eager to go along with the lie and that violence set it is bound to produce. last best hope i think is somewhat hopeful in spite of this. i felt like i wanted to write a book that looked at us as a people and ask if there is anything that holds us together as americans. are we so hopelessly, not just divided, but exit consciously in fear and hatred of one another that we can no longer function as a self-governing republic. we can no longer solve problems together. the pandemic was a context for my writing this book along with the election and the protest of 2020 told me, no, we can't. we cannot solve a problem on the scale of the pandemic. it seems to be doing evermore to
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divide us. i wanted to look back at some of the great techs of american history from tocqueville in whitman to walter littman in order to find out have we been here before, if so, what are their recurring themes and what are the ideas that may lead us out of what may seemed like a path towards some sort of self-destruction. at the end of the book i think i isolated two major themes. one is the quality and the other is self government. those are both keywords. he wrote that equality is not just sort of the founding ideal of the declaration, it is the passion. it is like this visceral desire of the american people. whenever it is denied, we have conflict. some countries are permanently subordinate if classes with social peace. but that is not possible in this country because he quality is not just inscribed in the
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declaration, but it is a desire that people have. it drives our politics. the resentment when it is denied self-government is connected to inequality because without equality we have no sense of shared citizenship. that as a basis for us to share citizenship and therefore self government begins to wear away and even fall apart. he called it an art. it is not just laws and rules in the constitution. >> skills and habits of the heart. finding the connection and create it for the first time. >> you just talked about covid.
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probably a good jumping off point. both of these book it seems like
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such an obvious example. there is obvious racial subjects to it. it is pretty buried at this point. doctor felt she and these people. some welfare queens somewhere. i am curious how you think about the way we self sabotage turning into racial resentment and our reaction to covid and how that fit theoretically. >> a great question. the way that racial resentment, self sabotaging resentment has
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traveled in our society since the civil rights movement and desegregation has been through the character of the government. it is not a private pool being drained. in fact we have private pools and membership only swim club. it was the idea that government went from being the enforcer of the racial hierarchy, the one that typed up the code. they enforce them to bdl bender. now we will be. a course sense of betrayal for many white americans who went from voting for a new deal big government big tax and expend policies. voting for democrat. the voting right acts.
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government is how you make sense government has not always been explicitly racialized. not the political partisan or racial acts. now what you are seeing in terms of the red state like resistance to vaccination is more the core, you know, as was put, they don't tread on me freedom from, government is suspect. it has been a threat in our society for some time, but did not capture the identity fused caption that it does now until government became the one that could take away your freedom to do whatever you needed to do to
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feel better than the undeserving >> there was no massive resistance to the polio vaccine. >> the massive resistance is the massive resistance is the mass resistance to that before. getting rid of your public schools in counties in virginia rather than integrate them. >> yeah. i mean, one level, the vaccine story, you talk about these four american narratives and the way that they have kind of -- they are not the causal predicate, they are descriptions of a balkanized country already. they are the stories that these different groups sort of tell themselves or tell others about the way they want the country to be. on the flipside of this, failures on covid response, at the same time, 75% of people have gotten one dose. basically higher then we get on
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anything else. so, in some ways, there is kind of a positive story to tell. you know, there are people with all kinds of use, all kinds of cultural life worlds that are getting shot. in some ways, that to me speaks to some of the hope in the way you think about the country. >> the opposite is true, to. it is really all races and all regions and both sides of the political divide although certainly the republican side more, what is the common denominator of vaccine resistance. for a while i thought that it was education. now it does not seem to hold up in every case. it is very hard to understand. it is like mask resistance. something that makes us a bit unique. i think that there's probably more. mask resistance was an american
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thing. to me, that is like kleenex resistance. >> my father has kleenex resistance. >> that is why he is not allowed to vote. [laughter] >> it baffled me. such a simple thing to protect yourself and others. a vaccine is a little bit more invasive. it really showed how any issue can become polarized in this country. the right ingredients are there. the president essentially getting people to resist it. we have moved somewhere on this and i think that we will keep moving because of the long-overdue vaccine mandate which should have been in place in may or june are forcing people to get the vaccine. look at what just happened with new york city health workers who were about to get fired. the same with the public schools. i wish the faa would or sit on. that would be the real game
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changer. >> the ultimate nightmare don't tread on me government enforcement. i am fascinated by quite the fight where there is a definitive excerpt. you are tracing the route of sites that continue. some fights, there is a winner. that was a really brutal fight. huge political fight over that. once i just clearly one. they just one. there is not an animating smoking politics now. people may be disgruntled, compare that to, say, abortion. there was no permanent victory. okay, this is what we are doing now. i feel like there is a nexus in race somehow.
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it is a hard question. there is something going on with the fights that we keep having these that once i can resoundingly win. >> yeah. that is a hard question. >> what is the rosetta stone for all of american history? >> so, you know, right now i am just filled with quotes from much smarter people. when it comes to core questions of power, i think, i am reminded, for example, that we had a civil rights act that got rid of segregation. of course, struck it down. and then 100 years later, we had another one. that, to me, feels more like most of history. when the stakes are that high and you are really struggling for core dominance and power, the power is to make meaning.
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the power to an ultimate exact profit. you know, particularly, when we are talking about a group of people that have so much power and it is always people at the bottom in social and economic and racial higher. it will feel's ethical. as long as we do not erect the structures to create inequality in a multiracial democracy and safeguard them like our very last depend on it. the period of time that we have had in the last 56 years since the voting rights act have seen a lot of complacency about the structures. in the idea that of course we are a free democracy and of course both parties will consent to, you know, saying yes to whomever is the victor.
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of course we will not storm the courthouse or the capital where the election results are being certified. that is not what we do. that is only a complacency that we have if you forget about much of our history and how much there was, how little democracy there was in the confederacy. how rare multiracial democracy has been. >> i think the democracy question, george, i have actually returned to heather's thesis on this. if we cannot control the democracy, then we will drain the pool and we don't want it. the ultimate and road of that is kind of like, if we cannot say ultimately that happens, we do not want self-governance. i think that your theory of the
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causes of this are broader than that and i think that you think that the blame, maybe that is too simplistic of a word. i view it in those pretty stark terms. basically like we do not wanted if we cannot control it. maybe that is an excessively charitable to people on the other side of this. >> i don't want to be charitable. >> understand. right. >> see them realistically. i am under no illusion that there is one party and one strain in our democracy that is in clear and present danger. we all know which one that is. there is no doubt about it. one of the imperatives of the next few years, one of the most important is to save it, protect it, prevent that.
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all kinds of legislation to mobilization to journalism. all kinds of imperatives that have to be activated in order to prevent trump and his cult from destroying our democracy. we are closer to that than any time in my adult life. when i talk about foreign narratives, it is not like they are in completely unrelated bias here, they are all coming out of some kind of common soil. part of that soil is a huge economic change from the industrial age to the information age. there been stark winners and losers in that economic change which has coincided with the rise of the first time in this country of what i call a multi- everything. multireligious democracy.
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those two, huge trends coinciding and producing that sense that heather writes about. there is a struggle for not just resources, but status and respect which i cannot win unless you lose. when that becomes a dynamic, i think it tends to become a two-way dynamic. there are books about rural america by catherine kramer or strangers in their own land. where the idea of respect seems to be a key fault line or fragile point where people feel whether they have any right to or not, they feel like they are no longer part of the core because other people are cutting in line in front of them. i am just trying to look at it as part of one single biosphere
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called america in which there are things that we have in common and which others from other countries can see immediately that we cannot leave because we are too close to each other and that is part of our animosity towards each other. >> take it one step further. i think that you can actually make an argument. people that live in places that are overwhelmingly rural, narrowly exclusively white and are not in centers of higher education like a college town. there is one thing that they are really right about. when you look at the survey of the commanding height of american culture, one of their people control it. that is just true. right the tv shows, write the ad jingles, just pick whatever it is. they are not wrong.
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a descriptive fact about what produces culture in america. a very geographic zone when you look at the country. that does not mean that the publishing industry is not still dominated by white people and wealth. it also means that when they view cultural production in america, there is a sense of which, i don't think that they are wrong, there are a bunch of people that control it. >> the media that is controlled by people who are not saying i'm you is really the worst. so, i think that matters. the working class that i want to know more about our the home health aides, the schoolteachers
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, the assistance, mostly women, women of color who are, you know, also sometimes vaccine hesitant. vaccine hesitant, not resistant. not a core ideology and the numbers are moving a lot more. but who are as under represented in the halls of cultural production and certainly in the halls of decision-making, but who became, you know, known as our central workers, finally. who have been the backbone of of our economy for so long and the american working class worker changing from a white guy in a hard hat as my colleagues would have wrote in sleeping giant to, you know, a white woman or a
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brown woman with a broom or a bedpan. the dignity and respect of those jobs fell accordingly. slipping down the social hierarchy. to me, what we are basically talking about right now. how much, what do we do with our fellow american who was outside of the cosmetology bubble that we live in and a white world recipient. those that do not have the same
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feeling of falling and mobility. talking about respect and dignity, that is always the thing. workers will always say that they have the dignity and the job. united for respect at work. it is really about having some agency and that is what it is always about. feeling like it was robbed by, you know, that demographic change has robbed you of that. it creates a different sense of solutions that are not usually good economic solutions for your own well-being. you feel like that agency was robbed by the boss and you want to use that as an example. >> heather, let me ask you a question. how do we create a transit racial working-class political movement. without which, i am in despair
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because to me, that is where the heart of the matter is that it is also where the big fault lines are. without one, i think that it will lead to something even worse. i am sure that you think about it a lot. >> i do. >> what your answer is. >> i don't have all the answers, but i really felt like i had a glimpse of some people that figured out an element of this. a lot of my friends and community and labor organizing who are right there trying to create a diverse workplace or of a diverse working-class of a community that needs to vote on a ballot initiative that needs to refill a pool. they are doing that work. they know that they cannot win without a multiracial working-class that sees themselves and one another. ultimately, the fault line, the
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impediment to that seeing of one another is great. there is more of a pragmatism and the empathy among the people of color they are trying to organize and the white people that have heard for so long. the volume of the bullhorn to really have it up against. anna party that is completely understood the last best hope. that multiracial organizing comes from places for solidarity , places where, for example, when i travel to kansas city and i met with fast food workers there that were joining the -- i talked to a young woman named bridget. grown-up pretty anti-immigrant.
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believed a lot of antiblack stereotypes. it was by extension, i think, the whole myth of the hierarchy of human value. because she has been paid $7 her whole life, she was not worth much and never would be. it was only through organizing real organizing, reflecting the life of a latino woman in a black worker who basically had a very similar life story. i now know that it is not about us versus them. in order for us to come up, they have to come up, to. as long as we are divided, we are conquered. she actually said the thing that ended up being the great inside of the book. that is why this movement has to show white workers that racism is back for them, to.
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it keeps us divided from our black and brown brothers and sisters. what does that mean in terms of strategies. we have to have this reckoning we are having now with how essential racism is as a core weapon. it means that white liberalism need to understand race, but not only as, you know, benefiting white people, but so fundamental that nobody is unscathed in the dysfunction that it creates. i think, tactically, we need an natural process of truth and recreation. we are telling ourselves all of these different stories. a shopping cart version. that is not how a country heals. we have to do this in a way that brings monday along.
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it will be the way it is in 12 states right now. it makes white children feel that. it is the work. it has always been the work. >> one of the things that i got from your book is that, you know, the great thing about dignity is it does not have to be. that is sort of the insight, to about specific core of the sort of freedom creative americans and obviously enormous brackets placed around the millions and bondage. >> he was writing in the 1830s. essentially, white men were able to exercise the rights of self-government. >> to the extent that there was something glorious to promote, reclaim, you know, this idea was
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like every man a king. the idea, this is specific, saying something about zero something. the whole idea of a king is out there can only be one. the sense of potency power, dignity could be everyone. it is embodied with many others. that being which is not quite a material thing, although it is related, it is not quite a spiritual thing. that sense that i felt determination. part of people who collectively manage this. the autonomy as a person. i am a sign of the march on washington. basically saying that in a
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different way. that does not have to be a zero-sum resource. that is the superpower that you get to distribute evenly. you see this. when someone says white lives matter, what they are claiming is a dignity claim from a black person that black lives matter is actually a zero-sum claim about how many pieces of the pie black folks get and then a counterclaim about how many places we want to grab. yes. human life is precious. in an equal sense. >> you said it is not quite spiritual. you are right. at times it is spiritual. when you read whitman, you feel as though this is a religion. a religion of democratic equality. if that is not a religion, then
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i am completely fallen. i think that it is not a zero-sum because it actually does not work as a zero-sum game the point of what i wrote and what heather wrote, without a sense of democratic equality which has a side, if the gap is too wide, there is no longer a sense of shared citizenship. i think it really is to the core of your being as a person, we fight each other. that is just the nature of this country. we are in one of those periods right now. >> i think that your version of this, correct me if i am wrong, you build through the material in the practical up to the more abstract. the lesson that i got from your book, you do not start this out like this level where everyone
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comes together and we say through this quality, it is like, no, we should all get paid more. a sturdier place to start. the project is to go somewhere else is how i understand the argument. >> that is right. i wrote the book from 2017 until 2020, my lovely editor allowed me to keep the book, the text open to find out who one the election. before we sell what this new administration was going to do. before, you know, the american jobs plan, the american rescue plan, this whole set of ideas and policies, the first line of the book is something like, have you ever wondered why we cannot deem to have nice things. by nice things, i do not mean laundry that does itself in
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hovercraft, i mean childcare. childcare and paid family leave and health care in a well-funded school in every neighborhood in world-class infrastructure. from a country that used to lead the world in infrastructure. and then, suddenly, this new administration, this guy that was not my guy in the primary who really sort of embodied the center of a democratic party, sort of sold out the working class and brought him to a winner take all economic model was suddenly saying, you get the things. you get nice things. i will rip it all up in the country. universal broadband. it is not just going to be for this part of the country. it will be everywhere. and come up that to me, is the necessary predicate for the kind of politics of cross racial solidarity that we need.
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because then it is to easy for the right to say these don't actually care about you, because they do not care that your kid cannot do remote schooling because you don't have fast wi-fi because they have fast wi-fi. >> i think it is a throwback to it. before that. of my book and maybe your book. he fits none of my four narratives. smart, real and just american. he has someone out of the truman years. he is an old-fashioned democrat of the fair shake. that was sort of the narrative. that was the phrase. with biden it means, i think, when he thinks of government as something, of course, this was not true of the roosevelt truman years because we know the way they left out large numbers of americans, but at least the idea was a national narrative that
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put the worker and the ordinary person at the center of the narrative rather than putting the business at the narrative. it was not hard for biden to make that shift. i think that he does belong to this. almost before the late 60s and the early 70s. i call that narrative equal america. pretty much what biden is doing. he has no, unfortunately, rhetorical inspiration and that is important. you really need a president to let them know here is where we are going. one of the results, let's just say, is the incredible mess we are looking at right now on capitol hill where the entire agenda is facing demise. >> i am glad you brought that up. i think that this is another interesting data point to terrorize what you are coming out. i actually think, in some ways,
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i think there are a lot of people who read both of your books. sort of the zero-sum idea has gained quite a bit of traction. i think, generally, the rhetoric from the white house has been in line. the whole thing is very much this is good for everyone. there are specifics that we are also looking for. making sure that there is equity for them. childcare and eldercare and investment good for everyone. this is not a zero-sum enterprise. i think that it has been fairly effective in a weird way. >> the polling is great. >> a really interesting moment because i think you see the difference, the most striking thing about this moment in the fight on capitol hill is the difference between 10 years and the aca. ten years ago, people were showing up at town hall to scream and yell.
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threat to burn the place down. those literal same people are just doing that now, but they are showing up at school board meetings about masks and couldn't care about this bill. they just do not care. i'm telling you. i watch fox every day. there is no blood in it. they mandate masks. people are showing up at school boards to scream about that. >> right. >> i think in some ways it is a weird success. the messaging, the approach and the some of us theory. >> i agree. the one thing i am not sure i go along with from heather's presentation is truth and reconciliation is a powerful tool. it is also a potentially explosive tool. we are going through a kind of slow motion explosion right now with universities and elementary schools and secondary classrooms
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, in newsrooms and our entire culture. i think a government that is seen to help people improve the conditions of their lives is, for me, the likeliest way to lower that toxic level of our politics and to bring about that transracial or multiracial working class that we want. whether truth and reconciliation is necessary, i worry that it will lead us in the other direction. >> it is tough. obviously, i think the economic agenda is paramount. i do not think it is zero between the economic agenda and racial agenda. the truth in the reconciliation process. the right wing is scaring white parents into being afraid of literally children's books about ruby ridges who was six years old. we cannot, this is a long
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struggle. how, knowing that the right will use fears of some sort of racial culture war to distract and divide and to their own electoral gain, what do we do about it. do we run, do we confront, do we make it smarter? what do we do? that is why i think that we simply cannot disarm on the question of what are national story is and what is the truth. it works well. i am really lucky right now to be doing a project that is sending me back on the road and talking to people doing this work well in the community of trying to forge across racial solidarity. when it works well, it is really much more powerful and potent. it looks nothing -- yeah.
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it is very powerful and potent and human to human. it is transformational, it is multiracial, it is allowed. white people that have been lied to about their own history, to be angry that they have been lied to as opposed to being resentful and wanting to hold onto the live. this is actually what we need. i just do not think we can give up. they will create the racial conflict wherever they can. we cannot just say that is too hard because they will infuse the field with lies and stereotypes and use it to their elect oral and economic advantage. we just cannot give up. [applause] >> i agree with that. i also think -- that was a very rhetorically elevated thing. now i will say a very boring and
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practical thing. it is a fascinating experiment in this. in some ways, that is the model. a lot of better left thinking has been going towards that. it is like equitable universal benefits that are tangible to people and that is kind of breaking down the old you are getting this and i am not politics of that really pernicious welfare politics. this is an answer to it. i think that it is a real ideological consensus about this. here you have the child tax credit. giving us benefit to 90% of households with kids. raise your hand if you have gotten the child tax credit. >> you have, you just did not know. >> better show this to the white house. [laughter] to me, to your point, about how
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you need things more than material, they did the material thing. they really did go out and get 90% of households with kids $500 a month. they really did do that. it is actually a direct deposit. the political consequences are essentially nil. i do not think that it won a single vote. there are quite literally millions of trump voting republican households in america that are getting that money every month. there was no republican vote for it from the democrats and joe biden. i do not think it will change a single vote. honestly. that is just, to me, you cannot just do, there has to be rhetorical symbolic of their work happening. >> politics is rhetoric. all i am saying is let's not make it too easy for the other side to take our rhetoric and turn it into a sword against us. of course they will try. they are good examples and then
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there are clumsy examples. there some examples that i find are two doctrinaire. rather than teaching the history and the ideas as part of the set of critical skills that children need, students need in order to be citizens of democracy, it becomes a set of absolute truths there is a strain of liberalism on the left as well as the right. as i said earlier, part of the same soil. they react on each other and they drive each other in these directions and i see that happening on both sides and it worries me on both sides. it leads us to a zero-sum game. >> what do you think about that? >> well, you know, it is difficult without specific examples to say what i think about that.
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in theory, yes, that sounds bad. i do not want that. i do not want to, you know, the people that want equality and justice and fairness to use the same tactics that the right uses. i do not want people, like you, frankly, to be turned off the project of the multiracial left. but, it is hard without specific examples and it feels like they keep throwing up more and more examples that seem very devastating. there are 12 states that have laws banning history and lessons that would cause guilt or anguish among students because of actions committed by members of their own race in the past. >> i am absolutely opposed to this.
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>> i want to give a concrete example. so, the senator from the state, she ran for president, i listed a town hall with her. this is a little different than the a liberalism that you are talking about. i think it is a concern about a certain kind of messaging and rhetoric. at one point she was at the town hall and she was explaining the logic of her candidacy. she could explain racism to white women. >> okay. >> i remember just thinking, it was a little bit of, who are you talking to? you are talking to me about what you will tell white women who are not aware of this? you are talking about them. you are not talking to them.
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it is a very committed to racial quality of liberal left. they are removed from talking to people. that is example of the opposite of what the people in the book are doing. i do think that there are tendencies, rhetorical tendon these in this messaging to talk about people. in many ways, the institutions of actual communion are so rotted out. you are here in the room with me, what is our deal. there are a lot of those people. this is my truth about what i think the country should be. >> that's fine. >> i think that it is very much also a function to bring this writing into the room, chris, of
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our social media age. expressing your identity online as a mode of political activism is not persuasion. the things that get you the most are not the things that compel and persuade. and, you know, chris wrote a piece of the new yorker about, what was it called? chris, would you like to say a little bit? one of your pieces? >> we, as human beings seek recognition as our most fundamental desire. recognition involves being seen as a person by another person. the internet and social media holds out a possibility of something like recognition that is not quite wrecking mission.
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it makes us pursuant because it is where the soul is. getting back to self government. my business has been profoundly misled by a i, basically. by all the invisible incentives of the algorithms that drive people to be their least reasonable and most unpleasant cells in public. and to spend far more of their unpaid time then i could possibly understand cultivating their most unpleasant self in public. none of it makes sense and all of it to me, and 10 years we will look back in say can you believe what twitter did to journalists and historians and all kinds of people that i respect. in some ways, we are all victims of silicon valley and mark zuckerberg and jack dorsey who
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are getting very, wealthy powerful off of human tendency. not just to be recognized to join a group and submerge your identity in that group and stoke the conflict between your group and the other group and to be applauded about every seven minutes. [laughter] one thing that i would love to see and kind of a rehabilitative america is journalism that does what i think journalism should deal. go out into the country and talk to people that are not part of the media. not part of the world that journalists live in. the pandemic, by the way, has been terrible in this way. it has intensified all of these tendencies. go talk to people you don't even think you would like, but certainly people that you do not know and try to see the world from their point of view. it is an amazing privilege.
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.... .... particularly multiracial society, local newspapers. a. >> and again, these are both really, really flawed and super racist at different times, so it's not like there's some panacea because they could be really bad and lots of ways, but as some kind of institutional venue where this work can get it done, that institutional landscape happened to do this viciously, and i do think that the lack of those institutions that a mediate in those kind of
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ways is a huge part of the story. >> absolutely. that is part of the politics, the story of those institutions. using it right now in the attack on the education. it's from local school boards into chaos, it's having financial impacts on the state funding it can be cut. if a teacher teaches the wrong thing about history, it is really trying to as drain full politics always does, move just enough of the public opinion away from the public good, to make them fear and distrust it so that then, you know, only the private win, but of course that means we all lose out. >> when you emphasize institutions, you're right, absolutely right. when i was reporting about a decade ago, during the recession, i was in western north carolina, white or gold tobacco country in youngstown following a block assembly line
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worker who then became a community organizer. i was in tampa bay where all the subdivisions had been suddenly turned into ghost towns in the middle of the financial crisis, and the thing that struck me over and over was the loneliness, the sense that there was no institutional support for people's lives. there was no union that they could turn to. where they could at least get some local facts that they could build their own ideas on. they didn't go to church anymore or even if they view the manned religious order to what other religious temple they went to, the political parties were completely missing. there was nothing. it was a landscape. for those of us in new york or san francisco or chicago or denver who live in the world of let's say the educated professional class, we haven't
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felt that as much because we have the institution of careers and each other. there is kind of more of a community even if it isn't the most pleasant. >> i try not to take that personally. >> not speaking to anyone here. >> i feel if the left can build a multiracial working class, which is an institution in and of itself, so many of the things we are talking about, they won't go away in fact they will remain transient but we will be doing it in an atmosphere in which we can actually talk about real problems instead of continuing to fight hopeless wars. >> i think george and heather are going to sign books. why don't you give a round of applause. [applause]
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thank you all so much. [applause] the brooklyn book festival continues now on booktv. >> good evening, welcome afternoon, almost evening. the associate director of the exhibition of the schomburg center for research into black culture for those who don't know the schomburg center is dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of the experiences. we are a public archive all you need is your library card to access collections like james baldwin, maya angelou in many folks. i'm excited to join tracy and jennifer and lucy for this conversation today because much of what almost god is about is what the schomburg is about, unearthing and ensuring that black voices are included in


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