The New Republic is 100 years old this year and managed to get former President Bill Clinton to speak at an event in honor of that anniversary. The magazine published the full transcript, which rambles a fair bit, as the ex-POTUS seems to do frequently.
But I particularly liked the passage below, which picks up on a favorite theme of mine, the importance of continuing to seek out civil, substantive political dialogue with people with whom you know you disagree on politics. Here’s Clinton along those lines:
You know, Americans have come so far since, let’s say, the era of Joe McCarthy. I mean, think about it. We’re less racist. We’re less sexist. We’re less homophobic than we used to be. We only have one remaining bigotry. We don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us. And if you look, actually residential patterns in America are changing. I mean, not just on by Congressional Districts. I mean fixed-line borders, like counties, the internal, social and political complexion of them are changing, and we also are siloing our information sources.
I read the other day that 47 percent of self-identified conservatives will only watch Fox News on television. That’s good for Fox News. I mean, it’s a good business model. My mother-in-law, who died a couple years ago at 91, and whom I love dearly and who lived with Hillary in our Washington home while she was secretary of state and senator, was the most liberal member of our family. She watched Fox News every day. I asked her if she was trying to give herself a heart attack. She said, “No, I’m just trying to keep my blood pumping.”
But then my—but then she seriously said—she said, “first of all, Bill, I need to know what they’re saying so I have an answer and I need to know what they’re saying in case they’re right.” She said, “nobody’s wrong all the time. It’s like almost biologically impossible.”