Dear Andreas,

Let me begin with a correction: I did not suggest "systematic" change; what I wrote was, "the nation is primed for systemic change," and there is a difference in meaning between systematic and systemic. I do my best to choose, carefully and thoughtfully, the words I want for my columns

As for any "dramatic mood swing," on my part, again, you misread me, and attribute to me a position that varies from my previous state. Such is not the case. Should you poll my long-time media and government colleagues, my friends, and my family, you would get from them a picture of me that is every bit as progressive as FDR, blended with a Lincolnian desire to bind the nation, not divide it. (Pray, do not go off on Lincoln...I haven't the time for that)

I do not "clutch pearls," and I resent the implication, just as I would if I were labeled a snowflake or any other of dozens of convenient labels of the day. If I have any quarrel with Sanders' positions, it is that they lack any fiscal foundation, any practical means for revenue that would not, in the end, bankrupt us. Universal health care? I'm for it. Affordable post-secondary education? I'm all for it. Fair housing, fair jobs, fair opportunities across the board? Count me in.

No change, however well-organized and supported by the mass of Americans, will ever happen overnight, nor do I expect to live to see the kind of systemic change welling up in the country today. I have seen the impossibly slow-motion arc of the Civil Rights movement, underway from my boyhood in the 1950s and my teens and 20s in the 1960s, and I bear no unrealistic hopes that change will come swiftly now that I am in my 70s.

I do not despise Trump's supporters; I am frustrated by them because they cling to the unfulfillable notion that Mr. Trump will avenge them, assuage them, coddle them, give them back something they never had, and rid the nation of whole classes of people who MAGA-thinkers believe are taking their jobs, their cities, their birthrights.

I do not begrudge the Trump voter who, in 2016, said he or she was casting a vote for Trump because they did not like or want Hillary.

I don't begrudge them their dislike of Obama and Biden, and their need to strike out against an administration they abjured. Voting is often as much--or more so--about emotions as it is about the details. But those same voters who, in 2020, in the face of what Trump has proven himself and his administration to be, who decide to vote, once again for Trump, they get from me only a sad nod at the empty future they are voting for.

As for your analysis of my current position as "revolutionary," I don't believe I wrote that, or that I appealed to a non-sustainable demographic base--whatever that is. Perhaps you mistake me for a reincarnation of HD Thoreau, and my article a reprint of "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," (which, by the way, I recently recorded as an audiobook for Audible...due for release later this month).

I am no Thoreau--not in skill, style, or substance. I do not seek some Bastille storming moment (July 14th, 1789, if I recall correctly...about 60 years before Thoreau's time). I do however subscribe to the notion that when a moment for revolutionary thought presents itself--as it has of late--we should be eager to embrace it and work with it, and see if we can move forward with fewer obstacles to our progress than have been put on our path by naysayers, America-Firsters, and dewy-eyed back-to-the-old-day thinkers.

Written by

Journalist, former Capitol Hill staff (House and Senate), former Cabinet speechwriter, editor, photojournalist and bird photographer. Top Writer Quora 2016–2017

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