Journalist Dan Rather joined Lisner Auditorium last Thursday, presenting a message of faith in America’s future.
Rather, 24-year host of the CBS Evening News and successor to Walter Cronkite, spoke Thursday evening as part of a longtime partnership between The George Washington University and Politics & Prose. A District based independent bookstore, Politics & Prose brought Rather to promote his recently published book, What United Us: Reflections on Patriotism.
Written with the assistance of fellow journalist Elliot Kirschner, What Unites Us is a 270 page compilation of Rather’s thoughts and anecdotes on patriotism in the Trump era, though never explicitly mentioning the president. Just past his 86th birthday, Rather’s book is packed with references to his journalistic career and wider life.
Rather was joined on stage by Jonathan Capehart, an MSNBC contributor and member of the Washington Post editorial board, who led the discussion of What United Us.
When asked why when he chose to write the book, Rather conceded that it came as a result of the 2016 Presidential Election. He stressed a need to redefine the American sense of patriotism.
“One key is humility,” Rather said. “We’ve got to be humble enough to know that we’re in search of a more perfect union.”
Rather warned against an authoritative Trump presidency and threat of increasing tribalism within American society. Focusing on a chapter focused on the value of dissenting voices, Rather praised social movements such as the recent NFL protests, Black Lives Matter, and the Women’s March.
“Dissent is one of our strengths. The radical of yesterday is the prophet of tomorrow,” Rather said.
Despite the difficult times, Rather expressed that the process of writing “What Unites Us” gave him great optimism for the future.
“It reminded me of who we were, who we are and that we can get through this,” Rather said.
Despite relatively strong turnout, many seats remained open in the back of the auditorium and tickets were still listed as available hours ahead of the event. Very few members of the audience were George Washington students.
Though he left CBS in 2006, Rather now heads News & Guts, a social media based news organization.