If the next presidential election leaves you cold, you're not alone. These days it's hard to get excited about any politician. But do we have to be so cynical? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, how some ordinary citizens became activists. Also, a look back at the century's great political speeches.
Journalist John Nichols witnessed the recent protests in Seattle. He shares his impressions with Judith Strasser and explains why he thinks it was historic moment for political activism. Nichols is the editorial page editor of The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, and a political writer for The Progressive magazine. Also, Barbara Ehrenreich tells Steve Paulson that she fondly remembers the excitement of the political activism of the 1960s and says today's activists should duplicate the emotional experience of those days. Ehrenreich is preparing a book on collective ecstasy and politics.SEGMENT 2:
Gail Collins has written a history of American political gossip, called "Scorpion Tongues." She gives Jim Fleming some examples from the "Hillary and the Lamp" story to incidents from the campaigns of Alexander Hamilton and Grover Cleveland. Also, Senator Robert Torricelli has collected some of the greatest speeches in American history into a book called "In Our Own Words." Toricelli tells Steve Paulson that America has had great orators, and we hear examples.SEGMENT 3:
Garry Wills tells Jim Fleming that the Constitution doesn't say what many anti-government forces think it does. He explains that the 2nd amendment has nothing to do with individuals owning guns, and gives other examples of how people have redefined the Constitution to support a particular political or social agenda. Wills won a Pulitzer Prize for "Lincoln at Gettysburg." His new book is "A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-12-12-A.
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