@DanRather Schools @RealDonaldTrump
I spotted Dan Rather at an event not too long ago and decided to approach him. Normally I avoid this kind of thing, not because I think it's wrong (I feel any public figure who says otherwise is usually full of it). I wasn't star struck - and honestly I hardly ever watched the evening news.
But I had recently heard Rather interviewed - a podcast, I think - during which he recounted his protracted legal battle with CBS following his dismissal.
I wasn't surprised to learn that the network did whatever they could to impugn Rather's character, damage his professional reputation and misrepresent his personal credibility - but I didn't know that, during the time the trial played out, the CBS news division had been instructed to remove Rather's contribution from its video archive.
In other words, sever Rather's beating heart from the network's body of programmable anchorbots - from the Kennedy assassination, love reports from Viet Nam, through "Courage" and his forced retirement - all of it erased. A cool blue assassination.
Rather's tone during this part of the interview lacked that the objective distance I remembered. His southern accent seemed more apparent, the sound of a man unable to access the flat tones of objectivity he'd been trained to create; instead his voice seemed haunted, a feint echo from within this hollowed out, legally eviscerated career broadcast journalist.
For the purpose of context I'll add the unremarkable fact of having been sued recently myself - an unfortunate, nakedly tactical maneuver I felt certain that I could not win but knew I had to oppose.
One is free to choose the time and place to discuss their character but no one has the ability to schedule the moment they will be required to prove it.
As I approached Rather I noticed how different he looked from the anchor on TV I remembered, how slowly he moved, and I would need to repeat his name louder the second time in order for him to hear it and turn around.
When he did, he turned slowly and I heard myself telling him that his willingness to risk so much in order to protect what should be honored and held up as an example left a lasting impression on me - and I thanked him. I can't articulate his expression or the sound of his thank you but it I can remember both assuring me that what was in my heart had landed on his.
I hope the following words offered up from Mr Rather's warrior heart land on yours.
Dan Rather's Facebook Post"
"No trying-to-be objective and fair journalist, no citizen who cares about the country and its future can ignore what Donald Trump said today. When he suggested that "The Second Amendment People" can stop Hillary Clinton he crossed a line with dangerous potential. By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics. This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a Presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?
Candidate Trump will undoubtably issue an explanation; some of his surrogates are already engaged in trying to gloss it over, but once the words are out there they cannot be taken back. That is what inciting violence means.
To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate.
This cannot be treated as just another outrageous moment in the campaign. We will see whether major newscasts explain how grave and unprecedented this is and whether the headlines in tomorrow's newspapers do it justice. We will soon know whether anyone who has publicly supported Trump explains how they can continue to do.
We are a democratic republic governed by the rule of law. We are an honest, fair and decent people. In trying to come to terms with today's discouraging development the best I can do is to summon our greatest political poet Abraham Lincoln for perspective:
"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
Lincoln used these stirring words to end his First Inaugural Address. It was the eve of the Civil War and sadly his call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder. We cannot let that happen again."