I am a fan of historian Heather Cox Richardson, whose Letters From an American newsletter invariably helps put the events we’re living through in historical context.
Richardson wrote to her subscribers on March 4 that she encourages people who feel helpless to change the direction of our future that we can do so by “changing the way people think, and that we change the way people think by changing the way we talk about things. To that end, I have encouraged people to speak up about what they think is important, to take up oxygen that otherwise feeds the hatred and division that have had far too much influence in our country of late.”
As evidence that our efforts have mattered, she says she was invited to talk with President Biden in a conversation “to share with you all.”
That conversation, “...about American democracy and the struggles we face,” took place on February 25, an “amazing time to be able to talk to the President.”
Putin had just attacked Ukraine, it was just before the State of the Union address, and the President had just announced that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was his historic nominee for the Supreme Court.
Richardson said she didn’t want to talk about anything she could learn from publicly available sources.
“I wanted to hear from a historic figure in a historic time about how he thinks about America in this pivotal moment, to put the specifics of what he does in a larger context.”
If you link to this issue of her newsletter, you’ll see more fully how she views our times in the cycles our nation has experienced in the 1850s, 1890s, 1920s, and now.
At each juncture, she wrote, “the American people turned to leaders who helped them reclaim democracy.”
“So do your voices matter? He wouldn’t have taken the time in the midst of such an important day in America to talk to you if they didn’t.”
Please watch their wide-ranging discussion of topics affecting us–preferably in its entirety. At this critical point, I feel both Richardson’s questions and comments and President Biden’s answers are well worth our time.
The video isn’t short, so I hope you’ll view it when you can relax and see it all.