“HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON: JOHN LEWIS AND THE POWER OF HOPE”

Encore: April 05, 2021

When longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis passed away earlier this year, America lost a giant. An icon of the fight for civil rights, Lewis endured repeated imprisonment and physical beatings in his relentless pursuit for justice. And his fearlessness during the violent early years of the civil rights movement cemented his place in history. Tonight, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham celebrates that fearlessness in a biography “His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis And The Power Of Hope.”

Aired on August 26, 2020.

TRANSCRIPT

> WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I AM JACK FORD.

WHEN CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS PASSED AWAY RECENTLY, THE NATION LOST AN ICON OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, A MAN WHO ACCORDING TO MANY, INCLUDING BOTH SIDES OF THE POLITICAL AISLE, WAS ALSO VIEWED AS THE CONSCIENCE OF THE CONGRESS.

NOW, MANY OF US RECALL VIVIDLY THOSE STRIKING, STARTLING AND FRIGHTENING PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS OF JOHN LEWIS BEING BEATEN ON THE EDMUND PETTUS BRIDGE IN ALABAMA MORE THAN A HALF CENTURY AGO.

WE ALSO REMEMBER THE VIDEOS AND PHOTOS OF YOUNG JOHN LEWIS STANDING WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND OTHER LUMINARIES AS THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO SPEAK ON THE CIVIL RIGHTS MARCH ON WASHINGTON.

WHAT DO WE KNOW OF HIM, WHERE HE CAME FROM?

IN HIS LAST DAYS, WHAT DID HE BELIEVE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THAT MOVEMENT THAT HE HAD CHAMPIONS BEGINNING CAC MORE THAN A HALF CENTURY AGO?

IN A NEW BOOK, JON MEACHAM, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN DELVES INTO JOHN LEWIS' LIFE, TELLS US ABOUT WHO HE WAS, TAKES US ALONG THE JOURNEY WITH HIM.

THE BOOK IS TITLED 'HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON.'

WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE JON MEACHAM WITH US TO TALK ABOUT THE BOOK.

WELCOME.

THANKS, JACK, APPRECIATE IT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR DECISION TO WRITE ABOUT JOHN LEWIS.

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, PULITZER PRIZE FOR YOUR BOOK ON ANDREW JACKSON, AMERICAN LION, YOU'VE WRITTEN ABOUT THOMAS JEFFERSON, THAT UNIQUE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT AND WINSTON CH CHURCHILL.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO DELVE INTO JOHN LEWIS' LIFE?

BECAUSE HE'S A BETTER CHRISTIAN AND BETTER AMERICAN THAN I AM IN ANY DANGER OF BECOMING.

HE REPRESENTS --

THEY CAN PROBABLY SAY THAT ABOUT ALL OF US BY THE WAY.

THAT'S TRUE.

THAT'S THE POINT, RIGHT?

I MET JOHN 28 YEARS AGO THIS NOVEMBER.

I REMEMBER EXACTLY WHERE I WAS.

I KEPT MY NOTES FROM IT.

I WAS A BABY REPORTER FOR THE CHATTANOOGA TIMES.

ON ELECTION NIGHT YOU KNOW THE CURRENCY OF POWER IS NOT TO BE SEEN BECAUSE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE OFF IN A ROOM, CALCULATING VOTES OR SOMETHING.

I WALKED INTO A RUNOFF ELECTION, DEMOCRATIC CELEBRATION DOWN IN ATLANTA AND THERE WAS JOHN LEWIS AND LILLIAN LEWIS JUST STANDING THERE TALKING TO THE PEOPLE.

NO PRETENSE, NO STAFF, NO MAJESTY.

THEY WERE OF US AND I ASKED HIM ABOUT THE MOVEMENT AND HOW IT'S GOTTEN MORE COMPLICATED SINCE THE JIM CROW SIGNS CAME DOWN AND, AS HE DID WITH THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE, HE COMMUNICATED A QUIET, PERSISTENT, REALLY TRANSFORMATIVE CHARISMA.

AND I USE THAT WORD ADVISEDLY, CHARISMA, GIFT OF THE GODS.

THERE WAS A MORAL FORCE THAT WAS NOT A REBUKE, BUT WAS AN ENCOURAGEMENT.

HE WANTED TO BE A BETTER PERSON BECAUSE YOU WERE WITH HIM.

WHEN -- I ALWAYS KNEW I WOULD WRITE ABOUT HIM AT SOME POINT.

WHEN HE GOT THE CANCER DIAGNOSIS LAST YEAR, I STARTED WORKING ON IT A LITTLE BIT AND THEN I WAS STANDING ON THE PETTUS BRIDGE IN MARCH WITH MY FAMILY AND ABOUT A THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE, PART OF THAT ANNUAL TRIP HE DID.

AND I JUST REALIZED THIS WAS THE MOMENT BECAUSE THE THING AMERICA NEEDS NOW MORE THAN EVER IS THE SPIRIT AND SUBSTANCE OF JOHN LEWIS.

WHAT DID HE THINK ABOUT YOU WRITING THIS?

YOU MENTIONED THAT ABSENCE OF PRETENSE.

I THINK CERTAINLY HE WAS MARKED BY AN ABSENCE OF PRETENSE, AN ABSENCE OF A SENSE OF SELF-MAGISTERY.

WHAT DID HE SAY WHEN YOU SAID TO HIM, I WANT TO DO THIS BOOK ABOUT YOU?

HE WAS -- IT'S A TRICKY QUESTION FOR ME TO ANSWER.

FORGIVE ME.

HE WAS -- I THINK HE WAS PLEASED.

I MADE THE CLEAR POINT THAT I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT HIM IN A HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL WAY, THAT IT WASN'T A FULL BIOGRAPHY.

THIS IS WHY HE WAS IN THE STREETS AND WHAT HE MEANT AND WHAT THAT CAN MEAN FOR US.

SO I TOLD HIM I WAS GOING TO DO IT.

HE WAS TERRIFIC.

WE SPENT -- BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC AND BECAUSE OF THE CANCER, WE SPENT MOST OF THAT TIME ON THE PHONE REALLY STARTING IN MARCH, AND I TALKED TO HIM UNTIL FAIRLY LATE.

IT WAS MID JUNE I THINK WHEN WE HAD OUR LAST CONVERSATION.

HE READ IT.

HE READ THE BOOK.

HE READ WHAT I SENT, AND THAT PLEASED ME ENORMOUSLY.

IT'S HARD TO TALK ABOUT IT IN THE FIRST PERSON, SO FORGIVE ME FOR STUMBLING AROUND A LITTLE BIT, BECAUSE HE DIDN'T TALK IN THE FIRST PERSON.

BUT WHAT I DO THINK WAS PROBABLY IN HIS MIND AND HEART TO SOME EXTENT IS HE BELIEVED IN THE POWER OF STORY, RIGHT?

HE HAD GONE INTO THE MOVEMENT BECAUSE OF HIS INNATE REVULSION TO THE SEGREGATED ORDER HE GREW UP WITH IN TROY, BUT ALSO BECAUSE HE HAD READ THE STORIES OF PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO CHANGE IT.

SO WHETHER IT WAS HEARING DR.

KING ON THE RADIO, READING ABOUT DR. KING AIN HIS GRANDFATHER'S NEWSPAPER.

HIS FAMILY COULDN'T AFFORD A SUBSCRIPTION, SO HIS FAMILY SENT THE PAPER OVER.

READING IN A COMIC BOOK CALLED THE MONTGOMERY STORY, READING ABOUT AUTHORING LUCY WHO ATTEMPTED TO DESEGREGATE TUSCALOOSA, READING ABOUT EMMETT TILL AND SEEING THOSE PHOTOGRAPHS.

SO THE STORY OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD, INTERSECTED WITH HIS OWN EXPERIENCE AND FORMED THIS MIGHTY RIVER.

HE UNDERSTOOD STORY.

HE UNDERSTOOD WHY IT WAS IMPORTANT TO TELL THIS STORY AGAIN AND AGAIN.

AS YOU KNOW, AS A HISTORIAN, IT'S THOSE WHO CAN TELL THE STORY THAT HELP US UNDERSTAND IT.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT HIS ABILITY TO TELL THE STORY, I WAS STRUCK A LITTLE BIT BY SOME OF HIS DEVELOPMENT AS A VERY YOUNG MAN.

THERE'S TALK ABOUT HOW HE WAS LEARNING TO PREACH WHEN HE WAS A CHILD.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT.

WELL, HE PREACHED TO THE CHICKENS.

THERE ARE TWO GREAT STORIES OUT OF THAT.

HE TOOK CARE OF THE FAMILY'S CHICKENS.

HE WOULD MARRY THEM AND BURY THEM AND BAPTIZE THEM.

APPARENTLY WHEN YOU PUT CHICKENS IN WATER, IT'S NOT A HAPPY MOMENT.

TWO THINGS.

ONE THING IS THE FAMILY TOOK A CHICKEN TO HAVE FOR DINNER AND HE REFUSED TO EAT IT.

HE SAID IT WAS HIS FIRST ACT OF NON-VIOLENT PROTEST.

THE SECOND WAS, HIS COLLEAGUES IN CONGRESS LISTENED TO HIM ABOUT AS CLOSELY AS THE CHICKENS DID.

WHAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT IT IS THE GOSPEL MEANT SOMETHING TO HIM FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

HE HAD A GREAT POINT, AND I DIDN'T KNOW THIS AT ALL, BUT FOLKS ONLY WENT TO CHURCH TWICE A MONTH IN RURAL ALABAMA IN THOSE YEARS.

THIS IS THE '40s AND '50s, BECAUSE IT WAS SUCH AN ORDEAL.

IT WAS HARD TO GET THERE.

IT WAS HARD TO RECOVER FROM THE WEEK.

THEY COULD ONLY DO IT ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS.

BUT WHEN HE WAS THERE, AGAIN, IN THE SAME WAY HE KIND OF REVOLTED AGAINST THE WHITE-ONLY, COLORED-ONLY SIGNS HE SAW IN TROY, HE DIDN'T LIKE MINISTERS WHO MADE THE CASE THAT WE SHOULD ALL LIVE RIGHT FOR A FUTURE REWARD.

HE WAS VERY FOCUSED ON HOW DO WE BRING THE KINGDOM TO BE NOW.

THAT WAS AN INTUITIVE THING.

WHEN HE -- SO HE HAD THIS RELIGIOUS IMPULSE.

HE HAD THIS RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION, PREACHED HIS FIRST SERMON TO PEOPLE AS OPPOSED TO CHICKENS WHEN HE WAS 16 YEARS OLD.

WHEN HE WAS 17, HE GOES OFF TO AMERICAN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY ABOUT TEN MILES FROM WHERE I'M SITTING.

IT WAS CALLED THE HOLY HILL, THREE LITTLE BRICK BUILDINGS LOOKING OUT OVER A SEGREGATED NASHVILLE.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT UNFOLDED IN THIS, AND HE WAS A LITTLE EMBARRASSED BY THIS, BUT I INSIST ON IT.

THERE'S A LOT OF THE BIBLICAL IN LEWIS' STORY.

HE GOES TO A HILL.

HE GOES TO A MOUNTAIN TO RECEIVE A COMMISSION.

HE WAS CALLED ROBERT OR BOBBY HIS FAMILY UNTIL HE WAS IN COLLEGE HERE IN NASHVILLE, AND HE BECAME JOHN.

HE'S JOHN ROBERT LEWIS.

ABRAHAM, ELIJAH, PETER ALL RECEIVED DIFFERENT NAMES WHEN DIFFERENT WORK WAS MADE AVAILABLE TO THEM.

EVENTUALLY HE WENT INTO A KIND OF EXILE AFTER STOECKLY CARMICHAEL DEFEATED HIM FOR THE LEADERSHIP OF THE STUDENT NON-VIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE, WHICH WAS ABOUT TEN MILES THAT WAY IN 1966.

HE SPENT TWO YEARS IN NEW YORK, REALLY PRETTY MUCH ALONE, THINKING ABOUT THINGS AND REALIZING THAT POLITICS AND PUBLIC LIFE WOULD BE THE NEXT ARENA FOR HIM.

AND SO, AGAIN AND AGAIN, THERE'S A BIBLICAL THEME IN HIS LIFE, AND THAT MAY SOUND SENTIMENTAL TO FOLKS.

IT MAY SOUND LIKE WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE HIM INTO SOMETHING HE'S NOT, BUT YOU CAN WRITE HAGIOGRAPHY IF THE PERSON YOU'RE WRITING ABOUT IS HAGUE YOES, IS, IN FACT, SACRED, IS, IN FACT, SET APART.

THAT'S WHAT THIS IS.

HE CLEARLY IS.

ANYBODY WHO KNEW HIM OR FOLLOWED HIS LIFE WILL UNDERSTAND THAT.

ANYBODY WHO READS THIS WILL CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND THIS.

I'M ALWAYS CURIOUS ABOUT HOW AUTHORS START THEIR WORKS.

IN THIS YOU START WITH HIM AT THE PETTUS BRIDGE IN 2020.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE THAT THAT WOULD BE THE JUMPING OFF POINT FOR THE STORY?

PARTLY BECAUSE I KNEW IT WOULD BE THE LAST MARCH AND PARTLY BECAUSE OF WHAT HE SAID.

HE'D LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT, BACK TO ALMOST HIS COLLEGE WEIGHT TOWARD THE END.

YOU SAW THAT IN THE BLACK LIVES MATTER PICTURE AT BLACK LIVES MATTER PLAZA.

HE HAD LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT BECAUSE OF CANCER.

AND THIS WAS TRUE EVEN WHEN HE WAS CHURCH SUPPERED UP.

HIS WIFE USED TO SAY HE'S BEEN TO TOO MANY CHURCH BANQUETS.

HE WAS SMALL -- AS BARACK OBAMA SAID, HE'S A LITTLE GUY, BUT HE TOOK THE MICROPHONE STANDING NEXT TO NANCY PELOSI AND JIM LAWSON, AND SUDDENLY HE BECAME JOHN LEWIS IN THIS DEEP AND THUNDEROUS VOICE, THE VOICE WE HEARD AT THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON, THE ANNIVERSARY OF WHICH IS COMING UP AT THE END OF THE WEEK.

HE SHOUT ED, AND AGAIN BIBLICAL SHOUTS IN THE BIBLE OFTEN SIGNIFY DIVINE INTERVENTION, A MIRACULOUS ACTION.

IT WASN'T ANYTHING HE HADN'T SAID BEFORE, BUT IT WAS THE LAST TIME HE WAS GOING TO SAY IT.

THERE'S SOME OF US WHO SHED A LITTLE BLOOD ON THIS BRIDGE TO TRY TO REDEEM THE SOUL OF AMERICA.

KEEP THE FAITH, KEEP THE FAITH.

YOU ALL LOOK SO GOOD.

HE'S DOING IT IN THIS VOICE, AND YOU KNOW THAT IT'S TAKING EVERYTHING IN HIM BECAUSE THESE ARE HIS PEOPLE.

THESE ARE THE PILGRIMS WHO HAVE COME, NOT JUST TO HONOR HIM, BUT TO HONOR THE INNUMERABLE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE MOVEMENT POSSIBLE.

AMELIA BOYNE KIN IN SELMA, DIANE NASH, AND SO WATCHING HIM ON THAT BRIDGE FOR WHAT WOULD BE THE LAST TIME -- SECOND-TO-THE-LAST TIME BECAUSE THEY TOOK HIM OVER IN THE CORTEZ.

IT SEEMED TO BE NOT A CULMINATION BECAUSE THE WORK IS NOT DONE, BUT IT WAS A POETIC MOMENT OF A LION OF AMERICAN LIFE IN THE PART OF THE COUNTRY, THE PLACE IN THE COUNTRY THAT, IF WE CAN TRY TO RECOVER AGAIN THE SPIRIT AND THE SUBSTANCE OF THAT, PARTICULARLY GIVEN WHAT WE FACE IN THIS ELECTION, WE'LL BE BETTER OFF.

ONCE AGAIN, I'M TALKING WITH JON MEACHAM, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN ABOUT HIS NEW BOOK TITLED H'HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON,' JOHN LEWIS AND THE POWER OF HOPE.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE IDEA OF BEING JOHN LEWIS IN THE BOOK.

DID HE EVER TIRE OF THE BURDEN, DO YOU THINK, OF BEING JOHN LEWIS AND WHAT THAT MEANT AND HOW HE HAD TO BE CONSTANTLY BECAUSE OF THAT?

THAT'S A TERRIFIC QUESTION.

I THINK NOT, BUT BECAUSE OF THIS.

HE KNEW NO OTHER WAY TO BE.

HE WAS A KIND OF LIVING MONUMENT.

SEAN WOOLENTS WROTE A PIECE ABOUT HIM CALLED 'THE LAST INTEGRATIONALIST.'

WHEREVER JOHN WENT, THE MEMORIES OF THE MOVEMENT WERE WITH HIM.

I DO THINK THERE WAS A TENSION IN THIS SENSE.

I THINK HE BELIEVED IN LOOKING BACK, BUT HE WANTED TO LOOK BACK FOR A VERY PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

IT WAS A UTILITARIAN VIEW OF HISTORY.

IT WAS NOT TO LOOK BACK TO SAY AREN'T WE ALL GREAT, GIVE ME AN AWARD.

IT WAS TO LOOK BACK AND SAY, I'M A SHARE CROPPER'S SON FROM TROY, ALABAMA, AND HE WOULD NEVER PUT IT THIS WAY, BUT WE CHANGED A COUNTRY.

THAT MEANS THAT ANYONE CAN CHANGE A COUNTRY.

I DON'T HAPPEN TO BELIEVE THAT.

I THINK HE AND A GROUP OF FOLKS WERE INCREDIBLY UNIQUE, BUT I DO THINK THE SPIRIT IS THERE.

WHEN PEOPLE WOULD SAY, OH, THINGS HAVEN'T CHANGED A LOT.

HE WOULD SAY IN THAT SHOUT, COME WALK IF MY SHOES, COME TELL ME THINGS HAVEN'T CHANGED.

I THINK THE BURDEN OF BEING JOHN LEWIS WAS ONE HE TOOK UP REALLY WHEN HE WAS 17 YEARS OLD.

REMEMBER HOW YOUNG HE WAS.

I FOCUS THIS ON THE MOVEMENT BECAUSE IT'S THE CLEAREST EXAMPLE OF WHERE THAT FAITH IN ACTION WAS.

HE WAS 17 YEARS OLD WHEN HE CAME TO NASHVILLE.

HE WAS 18 YEARS OLD WHEN HE STARTED WORKING ON THE SIT-INS AND UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF JAMES LAWSON.

HE WAS 21, JUST BARELY 21 WHEN HE GETS ON THE BUS FOR THE FREEDOM RIDES, WHEN HE GOES TO PARCHMENT WHICH FAULKNER DESCRIBED AS DESTINATION DOOM.

HE'S 25 WHEN HE'S ON THE PETTUS BRIDGE.

SO A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM PERHAPS?

AND PERHAPS IT WAS HIM.

REAL QUICKLY.

OVER YOUR RIGHT SHOULDER WE CAN SEE PART OF A PORTRAIT.

YOU AND I TALKED ABOUT IT.

IT'S A PORTRAIT OF JOHN LEWIS.

BELOW THAT, ALSO, A PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH.

I CAN SEE A LITTLE BIT.

I WAS STRUCK BY WHAT YOU TOLD ME BEFOREHAND, WHERE THAT PORTRAIT OF JOHN LUIS WAS IS GOING SNOB.

MY FRIEND MICHAEL SHANE NEIL, A GREAT PORTRAITIST IN THE BEGINNING OF THE GREATNESS OF HIS CAREER, PAINTED JOHN LEWIS.

THE NATIONAL PORT RAT GALLERY ACQUIRED THAT.

THE OTHER THING I'M HONORED TO HAVE IS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41, PAINTED BY HIS SON GEORGE W.

BUSH.

IF I MAY , PART OF WHAT MAKES TE COUNTRY GOOD WHEN WE ARE GOOD IS THAT, YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE ALL THE TIME.

AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT.

WE'RE ALL SINFUL.

WE'RE ALL FALLEN.

WE'RE ALL FRAIL.

WE'RE ALL FALLIBLE.

BUT 51% OF THE TIME OR SO, CAN WE MAYBE LET OUR BETTER ANGELS WIN OUT OVER OUR WORST INSTINCTS?

IF WE CAN DO THAT 51% OF THE TIME, WE'LL BE CLOSER TO THAT BE LOVED COMMUNITY THAT LEWIS TALKED ABOUT.

YOU MENTIONED THE BETTER ANGELS, A QUOTE FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN, ALSO PART OF THE TITLE OF ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR MORE F LAOS BOOKS CALLED 'THE SOUL OF AMERICA, THE BATTLE FOR OUR BETTER ANGELS.'

I'VE GOT ABOUT THREE MINUTES LEFT HERE, BUT I DO WANT TO BRING UP THE IDEA OF YOUR APPEARING AT THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION AND GIVING A MESSAGE.

I TALKED ABOUT ALL THE HISTORICAL FIGURES YOU'VE WRITTEN ABOUT.

I ALSO SHOULD MENTION YOU HAVE SAID IN THE PAST YEAR YOU'RE NOT A REPUBLICAN, NOT A DEMOCRATIC, VOTED FOR MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES.

YOU HAVE ASSIDUOUSLY REMOVED YOURSELF FROM PARTISAN POLITICS.

YET YOU DECIDED TO MAKE THIS APPEARANCE.

WHY?

BECAUSE THE CHOICE HAS NEVER BEEN CLEARER.

I WAS BORN FOUR YEARS AFTER THE PETTUS BRIDGE.

I WAS BORN IN '69.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT SIDE I WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE I HAD BEEN BORN 30 YEARS EARLIER.

I LIKE TO THINK AS A WHITE MALE SOUTHERN EPISCOPALIAN, I WOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE RIGHT SIDE, BUT I DON'T KNOW THAT.

I DO KNOW WHAT SIDE WE HAVE TO CHOOSE NOW, AND AT LEAST I KNOW WHAT I DID IN THIS MOMENT.

IT WAS NOT AN EMBRACE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, BUT IT WAS A VOTE FOR -- AND I'VE OFFERED WHATEVER HELP MY VOICE CAN BE -- TO JOE BIDEN WHO I BELIEVE IS A GOOD AND DECENT MAN.

IMPERFECT, BUT IN THE -- HISTORY DOESN'T ALWAYS GIVE US AN INFLECTION POINT LIKE THIS.

AND I THINK FOUR MORE YEARS OF THE INCUMBENT ADMINISTRATION COULD BE CATASTROPHIC.

SO WHATEVER UTILITY THERE IS FOR SOMEONE WHO THINKS HISTORICALLY, THINKS THEOLOGICALLY, I CAN TELL YOU AS A MATTER OF DISCERNIBLE FACT THAT JOE BIDEN WOULD BE A VASTLY BETTER PRESIDENT FOR AMERICA THAN THE ALTERNATIVE.

I WAS ASKED TO SAY THAT AND I BELIEVE IT AND I CALL THEM AS I SEE THEM.

I MAY NOT ALWAYS CALL THEM RIGHT, BUT I CALL THEM AS I SEE THEM.

DO YOU THINK THERE'S HOPE?

A TOUGH QUESTION WITH LESS THAN A MINUTE LEFT, BUT DO YOU THINK THERE'S HOPE WE CAN COME BACK TO THAT -- WHERE YOU CAN DISAGREE WITHOUT VILIFYING THE PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE?

CAN WE RECOVER THAT OR ARE WE PAST THAT?

NO, WE'RE KNOST PAST THAT.

AS JOHN LEWIS WOULD SAY, COME WALK IN HIS SHOES.

HE WAS BORN IN APARTHEID.

SO MOMENTS OF GREAT DARKNESS HAVE LED TO MOMENTS OF LIGHT, NOT BRILLIANT PERPETUAL LIGHT, BUT CIVIL WAR GAVE US SEGREGATION.

THE NEW DEAL GAVE US RIGHT WING REACTION,S.

CIVIL RIGHTS GAVE US RIGHT WING BACKLASH.

I E KNOW THE THEME IN THE SOUL OF AMERICA IS SOMETIMES WE CAN EMERGE STRONGER FROM CRISES.

ONCE AGAIN, THE BOOK IS ENTITLED 'HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON,' JOHN LEWIS AND THE POWER OF HOPE.

JON MEACHAM, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

A PLEASURE TALKING WITH YOU.

THIS IS GREAT, THANKS.

YOU BE WELL.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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