One of America’s most revered founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, allegedly used those words to describe what kind of political system the writers of the U.S. Constitution had created. The amazing events of recent weeks—Donald Trump’s concerted efforts to undo an electoral outcome that he didn’t like, the assault on the Capitol, and the impeachment of a President who is no longer in power—caused many Americans to remember Franklin’s concerns about the stability of their form of government. Congressman Dick Gephardt, former Majority and Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, shares those worries. In this episode of New Thinking for a New World, he told host Alan Stoga, “I think we’re as divided and in danger of losing the democracy as we were in 1860,” when the United States fought its civil war.
Congressman Gephardt, a Democrat, firmly believes America needs bipartisanship to cope with the divisive spirits that are tearing at the country. Listen as he talks about some of the things that urgently need to be done, not just in the United States, but everywhere that democracy is under pressure.
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Richard Gephardt served for 28 years in the United States House of Representatives, from 1977 to 2005, representing Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District. He served as House Democratic Leader for more than 14 years, as House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995, and Minority Leader from 1995 to 2003. In his role as Leader, Mr. Gephardt emerged as one of the leading strategists of the Democratic Party’s platform and chief architect to landmark reforms in healthcare, pensions, education, energy independence and trade policy.
Mr. Gephardt is President and CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs, serves on public and private sector boards of directors and is the founder of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis. Widely known for his advocacy for international human rights, Mr. Gephardt served as Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization that endeavors to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts, from 2009 to 2013.
During 2020, Mr. Gephardt actively worked to prevent an array of threats to the integrity of the election and transition through an organization he helped create: Keep our Republic.