Source: MSNBC

Presidential historian Jon Meacham reacts to the consequential week in America following the deadly insurrection on Capitol Hill incited by Trump.

“THIS WAS A FUNDAMENTAL REALITY. AND IF A COUNTRY DOES NOT BEGIN AGAIN TO SEE THAT POLITICS IS ABOUT THE MEDIATION OF DIFFERENCES AND THE RESOLUTION OF PROBLEMS FOR A GIVEN PERIOD OF TIME AND NOT A SHERMAN-ESQUE ARENA FOR TOTAL CONSTANT WARFARE, THEN THIS IS JUST A CHAPTER IN AN UNFOLDING STORY. IT’S NOT THE LAST CHAPTER. AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT ALL OF US AS CITIZENS AND NOT AS JOURNALIST, NOT AS HISTORIANS, AS CITIZENS WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IS DO WE WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE POLITICS IS SO CONSUMING AND SO DIVISIVE AND SO ULTIMATELY DEPLETING THAT IT KEEPS US FROM ADDRESSING THINGS LIKE, OH, I DON’T KNOW, A GLOBAL PANDEMIC THAT KILLED 4,000 PEOPLE TODAY IN AMERICA? THIS ISN’T — THIS IS NOT AN ACADEMIC CONVERSATION. THIS ISN’T SOMETHING YOU’RE DOING TO FILL YOUR BROADCAST. WE ARE FACING A DEADLY VIRUS, A RISE IN POLITICAL VIOLENCE. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING WHO LIKE THE GREAT DEPRESSION ARE SEEING THEIR FUTURE SLIP AWAY, THEIR INABILITY TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. THIS ISN’T PAINTBALL. THIS ISN’T PRO-WRESTLING. THIS ISN’T FUND-RAISING TEXTS. THESE ARE PEOPLE BREAKING INTO THE CAPITOL WITH GUNS KILLING A POLICE OFFICER AND DISTRACTING THE REPUBLIC FROM ADDRESSING FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND SECURITY OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.”

Reprinted for educational purposes and social benefit, not for profit. 

00:01
JANUARY 20th FOR THIS TO BE
00:02
OVER.
00:02
>> YEAH, THIS WAS A LEGACY
00:04
EVENT, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.
00:09
HEY, JOHN, DAVID LEONHART OF
00:11
“THE NEW YORK TIMES” AS I LIKE
00:15
TO SAY PULLED A MEACHAM THIS
00:17
MORNING.
00:17
IN THE FOUR MONTHS BETWEEN
00:20
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT’S ELECTION
00:22
AND HIS 1933 INAUGURATION MUCH
00:25
OF THE WORLD DESCENDED INTO
00:27
CHAOS.
00:28
THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING BURNED,
00:30
JAPAN QUIT THE LEAGUE OF
00:32
NATIONS.
00:32
IN THE U.S. HUNDREDS OF BANKS
00:35
SHUTDOWN, LYNCHES SURGED IN THE
00:37
SOUTH, THE COUNTRY NUMB AND
00:42
NEARLY BROKEN ANXIOUSLY AWAITED
00:44
DELIVER
00:45
DELIVERANCE AS DAVID KENNEDY
00:46
WROTE IN HIS PULITZER
00:48
PRIZEWINNING HISTORY OF THE ERA.
00:50
THIS IS USUALLY YOUR ROLE ON
00:52
THIS BROADCAST AND OTHERS ON
00:54
THIS NETWORK TO TELL US, TO
00:56
REASSURE US, TO REMIND US ONLY
00:59
THAT THINGS HAVE BEEN WORST —
01:02
WORSE IN THE PAST.
01:04
IS THAT STILL YOUR VIEW?
01:06
>> WELL, NOT NECESSARILY THEY’VE
01:09
BEEN WORSE BUT THAT THEY’VE BEEN
01:10
BAD AND WE’VE COME THROUGH IT.
01:12
AND WE’VE COME THROUGH IT
01:14
BECAUSE JUST ENOUGH OF US WERE
01:17
DEVOTED TO THIS NOTION THAT, IN
01:21
FACT, WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER
01:24
AS A WHOLE AS OPPOSED TO SEEING
01:27
POLITICS AS THIS PERPETUAL CLASH
01:30
OF INTERESTS.
01:31
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT THE NIGHT HE
01:32
TOOK THE OATH ON THE EAST FRONT
01:37
OF THE CAPITOL, HE WENT BACK TO
01:39
THE WHITE HOUSE AND LIKE A GOOD
01:40
EPASS
01:41
EPISCOPALIAN HE WAS HAVING A
01:44
GLASS OF WHISKEY AND GOING TO
01:45
BED.
01:46
IF YOU SUCCEED IN THIS YOU’LL GO
01:49
DOWN AS GREATEST PRESIDENT AND
01:52
IF YOU FAIL YOU’LL GO DOWN AS
01:54
OUR WORST.
01:55
AND FDR LOOKED AT HIM AND SAID
01:59
IF YOU FAIL, I’LL BE OUR LAST. I THINK THAT THE REACTION IS A
02:03
I THINK THAT THE REACTION IS A
02:06
GOOD SIGN-IN TERMS OF THE HORROR
02:11
THE COUNTRY SEEMS TO BE
02:13
ADDRESSING THIS MOMENT.
02:16
BUT HERE’S THE THING WITH ALL
02:18
RESPECT TO MY LANE WHICH I LOVE.
02:21
TO SOME EXTENT THE MORE
02:22
IMPORTANT QUESTION TONIGHT AND
02:24
IN THE COMING SEASON IS LESS
02:26
ABOUT HOW HISTORY WILL VIEW
02:28
WHAT’S HAPPENED THIS WEEK AND
02:30
MORE ABOUT THE UNFOLDING STORY
02:34
OF WHAT DO PEOPLE WHO DECIDED TO
02:38
MAKE THEIR PEACE WITH DONALD
02:40
TRUMP NOT ONCE BUT TWICE IN TWO
02:43
NATIONAL ELECTIONS, MILLIONS
02:44
UPON MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, WHAT DO
02:53
THEY DO NOW?
02:55
ARE WE SO DESENSITIZED TO
02:57
GENUINELY TRANSFORMATIVE PUBLIC
02:58
EVENTS THAT SOMEHOW OR OTHER IN
03:00
THE SPAN OF A COUPLE OF DAYS,
03:03
COUPLE OF WEEKS THIS IS GOING TO
03:06
BE, WELL, MAYBE THE LIBERALS
03:09
WERE EXAGGERATING, OR YOU COULD
03:10
JUST SEE HOW SORT OF THAT PART
03:12
OF THE POLITICAL SWAMP AND
03:15
FOREST WILL TRY TO CHANGE THE
03:17
PERCEPTION OF THIS.
03:20
BUT THIS WAS A FUNDAMENTAL
03:23
REALITY.
03:23
AND IF A COUNTRY DOES NOT BEGIN
03:26
AGAIN TO SEE THAT POLITICS IS
03:28
ABOUT THE MEDIATION OF
03:29
DIFFERENCES AND THE RESOLUTION
03:31
OF PROBLEMS FOR A GIVEN PERIOD
03:35
OF TIME AND NOT A SHERMAN-ESQUE
03:38
ARENA FOR TOTAL CONSTANT
03:39
WARFARE, THEN THIS IS JUST A
03:42
CHAPTER IN AN UNFOLDING STORY.
03:44
IT’S NOT THE LAST CHAPTER.
03:45
AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT ALL OF
03:48
US AS CITIZENS AND NOT AS
03:50
JOURNALIST, NOT AS HISTORIANS,
03:52
AS CITIZENS WE HAVE TO THINK
03:54
ABOUT IS DO WE WANT TO LIVE IN A
03:58
WORLD WHERE POLITICS IS SO
04:00
CONSUMING AND SO DIVISIVE AND SO
04:04
ULTIMATELY DEPLETING THAT IT
04:06
KEEPS US FROM ADDRESSING THINGS
04:08
LIKE, OH, I DON’T KNOW, A GLOBAL
04:10
PANDEMIC THAT KILLED 4,000
04:12
PEOPLE TODAY IN AMERICA?
04:14
THIS ISN’T — THIS IS NOT AN
04:16
ACADEMIC CONVERSATION.
04:16
THIS ISN’T SOMETHING YOU’RE
04:18
DOING TO FILL YOUR BROADCAST.
04:20
WE ARE FACING A DEADLY VIRUS, A
04:23
RISE IN POLITICAL VIOLENCE.
04:26
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE
04:28
SUFFERING WHO LIKE THE GREAT
04:29
DEPRESSION ARE SEEING THEIR
04:31
FUTURE SLIP AWAY, THEIR
04:33
INABILITY TO PROVIDE FOR THEIR
04:34
FAMILIES.
04:36
THIS ISN’T PAINTBALL.
04:38
THIS ISN’T PRO-WRESTLING.
04:40
THIS ISN’T FUND-RAISING TEXTS.
04:42
THESE ARE PEOPLE BREAKING INTO
04:43
THE CAPITOL WITH GUNS KILLING A
04:45
POLICE OFFICER AND DISTRACTSING
04:47
THE REPUBLIC FROM ADDRESSING
04:49
FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE
04:50
HEALTH, SAFETY AND SECURITY OF
04:54
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE.