tv Fmr. Gov. Bill Haslam Faithful Presence CSPAN November 26, 2021 7:10pm-8:02pm EST
highlighting the legacy of institution building in america and around building spaces that again embrace the concept of tolerance and justice. it is such a necessity. i would like to thank you all for joining us and i am overwhelmingly joyous about this structure. >> that wraps up our custody of the boston book festival. watch this with the book fairs tab when you click on it online. now, more television for serious readers. >> hello, my name is nathan and of everyone i would like to welcome you here in nashville, tennessee. whether you are watching us online for joining us, we are glad that you are with us.
before we start, i would like to think the key sponsors for their ongoingl support. the metro national arts commission, the ingram content group and others. we are so grateful for your continuedyo support. thank you for helping us make this a great festival. if you would like to purchase books that you seeee featured here, we encourage you to do that through the y book link in the facebook live or youtube check section. still support the festival and also help to keep it free. we have a special guest today in our author is a former two-term mayor of knoxville and two-term governor of tennessee. and during his tenure, the first statee to provide free community college and technical school for all citizens including 475,000
additional jobs. he serves on the board of directors for teach for america, the wilson center and others and he and his wife have three children and 10 grandchildren and they appear today to discuss his new book, faithful present. the promise and peril. he's also my former boss and welcome to the festival books, bill haslam. >> thank you, nathan, thank you for including me. i am not used to having people introducing in that way. and i'm thinking okay, i wonder who is going to join us. [laughter] but it's really fun to be a part ofof this. >> you are welcome. that's what's great about the festival is the kind of like the u.s. open. in one book if you qualify. smack that is probably a good thing in my case. [applause] >> one of the things about this
section, we have about 40 minutes here to talk. i thought that we could just jump right in. i have read t your book a couple of times and i just have general questions that i think would be interesting for the viewers as well as myself in a general. and to start us off what inspired you to write the book and why you chose this topic and this time to do it. >> like almost everybody else i am frustrated by what i see happening in the political arena not just the polarization, because that is not really all that new. but with the hatred which is not too strong a word that exist today, but the feelings of each side has for the other. motivation attribution of symmetry, which is how much, but do you disagree with the other side, but you think that they
are doing what they are doing or believe what they do for bad motives and the motivated attribution, this was four years ago in the country. it was greater between republicans andas democrats then the israelis and palestinians. this anna massey love all animoe right answer, it eludes all of us. and i quote t the book for peope of faith. because rather than being the salt in the light, i feel like people are acting just like everybody else in the public sphere. so this is my time to sayyb oka, what is the problem, what could that look like to be different. >> yes, yes.
>> based on your experience as governor or mayor or in life, as far as political services concerned, can you share some examples of where you are called into a situation where you had to have a physical presence and what that looked like and what the alternative and that includes with who you stocked up with. >> not just these they get a lot of attention, but in what we do everyday. the argument is here, what might it look like in the public square, i would argue that same thing if you are a teacher or an administrator in the hospital or at work on an assembly line or whatever it is a human i do. who are we called to do and be. and i'm going to come back and answer your question, but i
think part of the problem is particularlyro in politics and what is the christian position on this one. on some things that is really clear we are supposed to be concerned for the poor, we are supposed to feed the poor, but it doesn't tell us exactly how to do that. so i do think this is really clear. it's not up for debate. how do we do that in terms of an economic system, i think that that is up for debate and that's where we should engage fully to get the best answer. and i think we are called to have a physical presence and part of having a faithful present as having the humility to know that you might not be
right. my first ever political boss was when i was an intern in college. the majority leader of the senate, under george bush, and there was a saying that that always remember the other fellow might be right. he was from a little town, a country town north of knoxville. that was his way of saying i'm going to work my hardest. and i need to walk into it with the realization that i might not have the exactly right. and so particularly within our own routine in our own staff, once the governor speaks you think okay, that is the administration's position. but i learned also really
quickly that that did not get us the best answer. the example of realizing this was moving my chair from the head of the table when we had the senior staff meetings in the middle of the table so that i could make certain my voice did not cut off the discussion. so it wasn't going to be as good as the answer that all of us can walk out of the doorway. >> that is true. talking about anxiety. you have a couple of sections in your book here, some on anxiety and others on humility. and we know that anxiety has a negative impact on our personal lives and how we act politically or not politically in a competitive political climate. what are some ways that we can win. if you are trying to get your idea out there and to compete
and put forth this. how can you do that with humility and uniqueness. >> well, let me start with that it does not mean week. he also talks about tennessee, we haven't been given a spirit of t timidity. but it does mean is a sense of i know that i'd don't get things right all the time. and just today if i had a situation. and pretty much not doing much. so if i know that that's true in
my personal life, i noted that can be true and the rest of my life. but that doesn't mean that were supposed to surrender the argument and say whatever you think is right. no, we are supposed to be about working hard to get the truth and serve people. we are going to work hard to get to the answer that will serve the most people and we just have to go about it that if someone is on the other side of me they are not the bad guy. the person on theuy other side s not the bad guy. the bad guy is the problem we are trying to solve common to many people that don't have an education that is going to fill them for thees rest of their li. too many people don't have a job that can help to feed their family. those are the issues. so as long as we think that they are the bad guys, it could actually possibly lead us to a better place.
and that is true of both sides. now hopefully the republicans will see the democrats are not all bad guys or vice versa. >> what i talked about was motivation, both sides begin the other sides were bad guys. >> that's interesting about the book. it's not about political theory or one side or the other. it's about posture, what are you in when you engage in political life in the public square and why is it that all of a sudden the gloves come off and the manners go away as opposed to when we are buying something. or on the playground or anywhere. >> why do we seem to say that we are going to put the rules together for how we act in this,
that is kind of a question. i think there's two reasons. and i think it involves speaking to people. some people that view ideas, approaching it as a christian. you can go to sunday school classes and other sessions galore and here is what it looks like but here's what it looks like in today's world. and you don't hear a lot of sermons about that, maybe one or
two until we have not developed something that is so boring to some people, but we haven't developed a theology. and we have a view of how god sees this arena, how we should react. and we haven't really developed a theology here. and i'm betting this and i know the when you worked in an office you heard a lot of this. folks that called up and they were really mad. and really famous for having civilized conversations with people. he did not want to have a civilized conversation and their point was this. the stakes are too high and we can't act like we have sunday
school rules, the other side is not going to unilaterally disarm. so if all of a sudden we started playing away that is humble and forgives the other side, we are going to get wiped off. but the point that i would bring up again to people is that we don't leave the rules for circumstances in other areas ofl life. we need to act ethically as a christian believer unless your company is getting ready to go out of business. and i case, do whatever you need. we promise to be faithful to your wife as long as you both shall live, but we will suspend all of that stuff if the person in the office next few is really hot. we don't give ourselves passes, if you will, but we have in politics.
and we justify it by saying that there's so much at stake in this matter so much that we have to play to win. >> you mentioned in your book how they are often willing to see the ills of an institution or organization. when it comes to personalizing it, not quite as easy. >> we talked particularly today the issues around systemic racism or systemic social injustice and not his real in my opinion. we have places where injustices become part of a system or an institution and i think that it's part of this, as we drill down and see are part of that. and how it started with somebody like making a first step in a way that wasn't just. and that it didn't show any kind ofho mercy. and that became perpetuated and
so if that is true in the systems that have been built upe it's true and the things that we do and idolizes well. i am struck particularly by the generation today that is in their 20s were very close to it, they are very quick to protest and march, to talk about injustice out there. a lot less willing to see injustice in here. >> in chapter two you also talk about compromise. and you say the compromise now means lack of conviction. and it has become a dirty word. and we have a question here from a viewer in this kind of and not heading in the question is how do you draw the line between humility and tradition and you know, in an age where most leaders especially in the south feel updated a bit and sometimes folks say they are archaic in their conventions. do you think that there's room for open-mindedness?
>> i think that the point that i am trying to get across in one of the points i'm trying to get across is that we really are going to solve the hard political issues today, we have to start with the realization that the country is pretty evenly divided in the last 10 presidential elections have been decided by single digits, the senate is literally 5050 and the house. we are an evenlyse divided couny and yet we don't think that we are evenly divided because everyone we are around things like we do. we tend to listen neighborhoods, we go churches that have people that think like we do. i can choose whatever news. and we kind of have confirmation
bias is a real thing. tell usit when people that what we think is true is really true. so i like the news a lot more when it tells me hey, here is why there is truth behind that. and that is what i think too, so i think i'm right. everybody around us things like we do. that's where this humility comes in. not everyone thinks just like i do. so there is a need for me to understand the other i side. there are some really great professors s that teach you to learn by making you make the best argument for the other side of the case that you are in the middle of. what is it that you are drawing when it comes to people andwi getting them to look at that point of view. and so i think the question
about it, there are things more southern tradition, southern hospitality if you will. and that is not humility at all. you know that it's recognizing this and i'm going to give the person on the other side of the table a little bit of raise and the opportunity to hear their point of view. >> it talks about negotiations. finding out what motivates people, negotiating with, finding out what is motivating them. because that can help the process as opposed to what their position is. >> in the book you referred to
cs lewis, martin luther t king, other great speakers, how does it compare with our climate and how applicable are their words and lessons for us today? >> one of the things i love thingsov like this that remind people of the value is you weren't so much and people that live in a different place and in a very different time than we do struggle with many of the same things. and so you read about how they are trying to abolish slavery in the united kingdom, spending most of their adult life. he loses something like 20 times, the bill loses in parliament. but through persistence and good, the people are working with them and they love to h see them be abolished in the united
kingdom. so if you read the argument back and forth. it's like okay, how did it take them so long to do away with something that was obviously soa wrong? we read the arguments back and forth and we see it has not changed all that much or you think about t t it. cs lewis who is writing a lot during world war ii, we think okay, all that of that sounds great, but that is not the real world. and we think okay, they are actually living in a world where they are bombing the world where he lives on a regular basis. so if we apply them to our present situation, i think that that is one of the most important things that too many people do not take advantage of.
>> i know that you have been making stops, introducing people to the book, the content, you know, what you went through to write it and what inspired you. so i am curious when it comes to people that you meet in person, haser anything surprised you abt the response and is anybody just outright disagreeing with you? >> you know, that is a great question and i did not know what to expect. so i think it's a pleasant surprise that has been a lot of really good thoughtful conversation with a lot of people. so it's nice in that way in hell do people come up in public they accost do all the time. they tell you how wrong and tham you are. the truth is it happened about 5% of the time. you have very thoughtful or helpful conversations are very encouraging conversations. in the book.
it has caused a lot more thoughtful conversations than i would expect from folks. some of them are old friends. like hey, i saw you here, this isk interesting. and that includes the folks that you are running two in the restaurant as well. so that has been encouraging as well as fun to have the interchanges to those that actually respond to something specific as well as how they feel about r that. one of the things is you don't really know how your book is going. you hear frommg. your publishern infrequent basis on how many books and things like that so it's not like a business for everyday words like okay, here
recently enough that i can remember them they are like okay, i know you're working on that book. and i love reading that and usually this is part of it. >> i think it was a personal goal that you had, i can't remember what the number was. but i'm sure that it is what it was. >> i have no time now. >> and i just didn't want to make it where my wife was so full and so some of that
something i really wanted to study and read more about than some of it was a great novel that a can take it somewhere ele at the end of the day and different issues and things like that and that includes another time and place and outside of your room and to answer your question and i love history, i love books that are trying to explain something that i'mri trying to dig her out. so i usually have one of each book, something that is something that i am trying to address or that includes a great
novel.e >> do people recommend books you have a book club? >> when you are in office i usually have a closet full of books. and then you get a lot of authors as well who have written att book maybe he will like it d read it and i am one that always read through books and that includes how it comes out monthly to recommend books and sometimes i do like wandering
through bookstores. sometimes was wandering through, doing this in other places as well. >> well, there's a lot of authors, there's also a lot of readers as well and would-be authors and readers, those that attend this session and what was your experience as a first-time author writing a book about him that you are passionate about and what did you learn, from now what can you tell or share with us. >> well, right there don't think well, i will go back and find out later. i'm still kind of kidding about that but it's in this book or that book and i keep writing, finishing the chapter and that
has led to a lot of long nights and i was trying to find that article or where that quote was in the t book. and so i think that the main thing that i would say is i have a new respect for real authors. it's a lot harder than i thought that it would be in that includes an argument throughout the book that has kind of made the case, here is what we do about it, holding that kind of a story which is harder to do than what i thought. and so i think that the other thing was that the flipside is there was a great experience for me to sit down and this is something that i feel strongly about, the need to put in paper, the argument that i wanted to make was really helpful to me in
terms of grabbing my arm around my understanding of the situation. >> there are some passengers passages that i underlined and i will give you a couple examples of them b here today that i thought stand out. real leadership is about connecting the problems facing those voters with a difficult reality of governing and actually working to all of this problem. and another example of a sentence like that, a statement or a conclusion, this is later in the book knowing that the church today can and should be people who are known for entering the public square with humility rather than pride and arrogance and simply the only way. not come with exceptions for certain situations like politics. so sir, did you have these thoughts, making sure that you built the framework, or did you
come land on these things and they became pillars of the idea that you are sharing? >> the first one of those that leadership is about solving problems was one of my main motivators for writing the book. i'm afraid we've gotten to where we have people thinking of it as being less strong, a mayor or governor or whatever, those folks that make those statements that people are willing to jump up and say this or that in most of the time those statements that they are making are doing nothing to solve the problem, they are saying there is a way, finally, you tell it like it.
but telling it like it is is not solving the problem. one of the things that i hope that thehe book does is to think about who they are supporting in elections. and you actually is solving problems. and these are hard issues and i am afraid that we have let roderick overcome résumés and the sense of it would mean a lot more than the person solve the problem, anything s like the one that they are addressing now. so i think that that is part of it and what i talked about in the book and the other one around here as well. kind of coalescing around, and i
thought okay, this is exactly how i feel. >> another one in chapter 12. >> another thing that you spoke about his making a great punchline, and something about his people, in chapter 12 you say we cannot react at a cost ti lead to those that differ when we are supposed to love our enemy. if we are going to have a faithful present, that presence cannot be marked by fear of our changing circumstances or anger at the people that think differently than us. >> yes, correct. so if you think about it, i ain't a lot of the worst things of politics is due to us reacting out of fear. and that is more than almost anything else in the bible. so we know that that is a bad thing to come from.
and the second thing is the idea of thehe personal side of it thy are created in the image of god. have a look in them an entirely different way than if i didn't believe that. >> if that's true, they have a yard sign that i can't believe they are supporting that candidate. you know, the person that is sending out things, things that drive me crazy and i can't react in the same way because i actually think the other side of the argument was created in the image of god.
so we are supposed to speak the truth. we are called tol government service it should be about getting answers, actually serving people while and i have strong views about what does and does not do that, butha i cannot if i'm saying i'm a christian, i cannot approach an argument and that includes about the civil rights movement. and that includes one of the interesting quotes, how much of the civil rights movement were theut foundations are all about that idea created in the image of god. and that includes the racism
that they were working to end. >> you mention in the book that the trail politics and people involved in what would you say to peopleol of faith that feel like they have a contribution to make them feel like the climate is not one ready to listen to what they have to share or that it might not be useful or interesting, if you will. >> and they said center very
best. and increasing the spirit does all the work. we need our very best people to be part of that. it led to the running for governor, it is in the book of jeremiah, people are being held captive in israel. and that includes he writes to them he says okay, i'm coming to get you, bill. and he basically says he used to it, you're going to be there in a while. and they say go home and plant gardens, raise your children,
have your children marry. and seek the wealth of the plays that i have called you and that is where you will find your peace. we are being kept in this way or that way, and a horrible bad guy, that is what jeremiah tells them to do, and i'm afraid too many of us have reacted by name okay, this is horrible. let's take a look at what our culture has degraded to, let's take a look at the state of our country and i think that the message back to us is the same one that jeremiah said. part of the way we do that is to make certain that we have the very best government waste
possible. one of the biggest things i learned was how much difference it makes to have the right person on the school board were on the county commission, the governor's office, in the white house, all of that matters way more than i thought. and i thought it was important for that if we really do care about the world that god has asked us to seek the peace, if you will, one of the ways we can best serve god is in the public arena. and it is just an area that to say, away with all that, i'm going to worry about internal things. >> there's another a section he. it says i think it is, for a
time that christians are called to the public square. but not in the ways that we have traditionally approached it. these times call out for people that a understand the cries for justice have to be accompanied by a merciful spirit and not one of the other or both truth and love. we can be people of the seek the peace, knowing that god has tied the welfare to the welfare of the place you have called us. >> yes, that is one of the arguments that i was just making their. it is more of a religious situation where people are purely coming in from a safe angle.
meetings going back, don't blame the meat. and we came in after being on vacation for a week and there was still meat in the freezer it would be like i can't believe that that went bad on me. and you are supposed to be the light in the darkness. so that is what my book is, what does it mean to be salt and light in a world that feels contentious and hateful.
>> it's been great talking with you. i have a quick question for you we have different things and over that time what surprises you the most over this? >> well, i can't believe i got to do this. we got to walk up the steps of the capitol. i can't believe i get to do this. from that first night we spent in the governor's race, somebody is going to come get us and throw us out of here. they are finally going to sneak in here and things like that. but who am i that you have
thing that i walked out of the office work. >> i want to tell all the viewers to take you for joining us. if you would like to get a copy of the book, please use the link to do that and will allow us to continue to make this hasslefree to you. and if you would like to donate, please feel free to go to the website as well, there are ways to do that. i would like to thank you, governor, thank you for your time. >> it's great to see you again, thank you. >> thank you. >> here's a here is a look at the best-selling nonfiction books according to politics and prose, topping the list is the late anthropologist david gravers. looking at the development of human society and the dawn of everything. the chief washington correspondent has more on the aftermath of the 2020 election.
after that our two memoirs. and wrapping up, the best-selling nonfiction books. a tribute to the life and career of cokie roberts. watch it at booktv.org. >> from our weekly author interview program, ben nelson of nebraska weighing in on the decline of bipartisanship in the senate. he spoke with a republican senator ben zacks of nebraska. here is a portion of their conversation. >> you have to trust one another you have to trust that they will listen to what you have a and share their thoughts back with you. and that is important.
you will have to trust when you get together that they won't leave you high and dry. friendships, partnerships, business as well as well as personal relationships. you have to have more of that. if you don't have that they can be rebuffed, like get out of here. something like that. so if you feel like you can do so, i have never had any question in my mind across the aisle to talk to one of several republicans that were going to listen to what i had to say. they might come along and they might not. john mccain and i were able to do a number of things together and he did not agree with me on everything and i did not agree with him on his positions on everything. but we found common ground so
also you have to pick and choose things so that you do not become dry. if you have something, you have to listen to what you are saying. you have to feel comfortable talking. if you don't feel comfortable talking, i'm not sure that this will be a part of it. you have people on the other side of the aisle that you feel comfortable talking to and that is the beginning. then i think you have to have some good ideas as well about why you want to do something together. >> to watch the rest of the program is a booktv.org and click on the afterwards tab to find this and previous episodes. >> here is a look at publishing industry news. president trump is releasing a book of photos it is being
published and cofounded by donald trump junior and will go on sale december 7. york times has released their annual list of the 100 notable books of the year and this year's nonfiction titles include annette gordon reed and maggie nelson's on freedom and the chancellor just to name a few. a memorial to the late english novelist is being criticized and the statue was to be positioned overlooking the river. saying it's a reason to move the memorial to another site. and according to print book sales up 12% for the week ending november 13. adult nonfiction sales have another strong week of almost 7% for the year. booktv will continue to bring
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