The President’s Surprising Impact on My Household
The President’s Surprising Impact on My Household
On this Presidents’ Day weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about our founding fathers, the foundation they built, and yes, the president overseeing that foundation today.
Donald Trump has unleashed something that few other politicians have been able to do. He did something in my own home that I as a parent wasn’t really successful at doing.
But somehow Donald Trump did it.
He got everyone interested in civics, the government, and, yes, the press.
Yes, he did. Today, my kids and their friends are engaged in our democracy in a way that I have never seen. They follow the news like it’s their business. They ask really smart questions about executive orders, about the role of the national security advisor, and about the justice department and how its jurisdiction differs from the FBI. They talk about the new Supreme Court pick and how he might impact the Supreme Court and hence, the laws of our nation. They talk about the ninth circuit and about what’s constitutional and what’s not.
They know the names of the people “in the room,” thanks in large part to their avid consumption of all forms of news media (which, thankfully, is enjoying a record number of subscriptions and ratings).
And speaking of the news, what a week for journalism.
It was an incredible week for those in it, for those defending it, and for those who have invested millions into it, like Jeff Bezos (yes, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos). Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million in 2013 and has invested millions more into its investigative journalism, empowering them to be able to break stories like the one they did this week.
America is so alive that it feels as energized as the Broadway play “Hamilton” (which I saw for the second time last week). People are engaged in our democracy. They are writing and calling their representatives. They are taking to the streets. They are making their voices heard. And perhaps most amazingly, there are record numbers of people jumping into the arena.
Meanwhile, middle and high school teachers across the country are reporting that their students are showing a level of engagement in civics that they haven’t seen in years. Lindsey Beam, a teacher in Greer, S.C., told the NY Times that her students now “know a lot, and they’re proud that they know a lot. What’s on their radar in terms of world events and domestic issues has grown exponentially.”
Believe it or not, civics are hot. The news is hot. Facts are as “in” as a pair of Yeezy sneakers. And politics is way hotter than any reality show on TV. Who would have thought? (I can’t wait to see the ratings for that president’s much-debated news conference.)
So on this Presidents’ Day weekend, I want to thank the founding fathers for building us that strong foundation.
I want to applaud the press for staying on the story and for letting us know “who’s in the room” and what they are saying, even if those people deny what they’re actually saying. The press is not “an enemy of the American people,” as President Trump tweeted on Friday. It is, as founding father Thomas Jefferson once wrote, the very thing that guards our liberty.
I also want to shout out to all those who are showing up, speaking up and letting our elected leaders and the president know what they think, what they care about, and what they are willing to fight for.
So as accusations fly, it’s important to remember that our nation’s strong foundation is indeed intact. The three branches of government work. And we are lucky to live in a country with a free press.
Every president has to find their way of dealing with it.
So before our president decides if he wants to continue bashing it, it might be worth listening to another president who tried that strategy.
History offers us all lessons for the future. It’s up to each of us to learn from them.
Happy Presidents’ Day.
NEWS AND VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
NEWS TO OPEN YOUR HEART
I’ve always believed in the power of one and in the unity of our great country. That’s why I love this One America Appeal campaign – which is a joint appeal by all five living former American Presidents to encourage their fellow citizens to support hurricane recovery. It’s a reminder that we need to drop our party lines, our state lines, our judgments, and work together as One America. Yes, we are. [LEARN MORE]
VIEWS FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION
In addition to the hurricanes, there was other major news this week. With President Trump announcing his plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, millions of these lives now hang in the balance as well. Many think they know who these people are, but I’ve had several conversations this week and realized there’s a real lack of understanding. The NY Times did a nice job putting together this interactive portrait featuring the life stories of 100+ of these individuals. I think it’s worth us all taking a moment to read them and try to better understand. [READ MORE]
NEWS FOR YOUR MIND
God willing, we’re all going to be here for awhile. So, if you’re thinking about how to age well, then you’re going to want to watch this TODAY piece I did this week about a reported “longevity pill.” It’s about a common medication that one doctor hopes could be the key to eliminating certain age-related diseases and leading to a longer life. [WATCH]
NEWS TO MAKE YOU THINK
One thing is for sure: we’ll be hearing a lot next week about what Hillary Clinton has been thinking when she releases her new post-election memoir “What Happened.” So many people have weighed in with their opinions on this past election. Now, we get to hear from her directly. Excerpts released so far have certainly been food for thought, including her jabs at Bernie Sanders, who she criticizes for causing “lasting damage” to the Democratic Party. I know I’ll be curious to hear more. [READ MORE]
ARCHITECTS OF CHANGE OF THE WEEK:
This week, we shine our Architects of Change of the Week spotlight on all of the first responders who are serving in Houston, Florida, the Caribbean and elsewhere right now. Some have gotten attention in the news, but so many have been unsung heroes doing incredible work to rescue our fellow citizens and get their families to safety. Many are quickly pivoting from Houston and now headed to Florida. Thank you for all that you are doing. May we all find a way to support your efforts during this time.
Monday marks the 16th anniversary of September 11, a day that is forever stamped in so many of our minds. Today, we share with you a video of Architect of Change Billy Collins, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2001 and wrote a beautiful poem remembering those who had fallen. May we remember today, and may we look ahead to how we can continue to come together as a country.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
SHOP FOR YOUR MIND
“My First Coloring Book Is On Sale Now!”
I’m so excited that Color Your Mind” is now a national bestseller! If you know someone with Alzheimer’s or another brain-related challenge, or if you know someone who is a caregiver, I hope you’ll consider gifting them with a copy. It’s designed with love.
“We Want to Make Our Kids Proud. We Want to Give Back.”
The women of Rivet Revolution have also been touched by Alzheimer’s. Through their passion for jewelry-making, they are using their work to ignite conversations and raise awareness. These “WAM Revolution Bands” benefit women-based research.
READ MORE ABOUT WHAT I'VE BEEN THINKING
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"The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” — Rumi The other day, the priest at my church said something that caught my attention. He spoke about becoming what he called an “Ambassador of Reconciliation.” “Are there individuals you have chosen to walk away...read more
"Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.” — Thurgood Marshall After my daughter watched the documentary Finding Neverland the other night, she wrote me a note...read more