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We need Dan Rather’s rousing speech on our divided country right now

We need Dan Rather’s rousing speech on our divided country right now
KC Ifeanyi speaking with Dan Rather at the Fast Company Grill in Austin. [Photo: Valerie Chang]

During the Fast Company Grill in Austin, renowned journalist Dan Rather gave insight into how his media company News and Guts is aiding in the fight against fake news with content that aims to add much-needed context to the current state of America.

When asked whether the goal of News and Guts is preaching to the converted or changing the mindset of the public, Rather gave an impassioned answer that’s the much-needed hope so many are looking for:

“While I’m very grateful for the success that we’ve had with Facebook and with NewsAndGuts.com, it’s beyond my power. It’s beyond our power to change the world or, for that matter, to change our country. We all do what we can, and I want to do what I can. And one of the things I think we can do, and we’re trying to do on both Facebook and with News and Guts, is [emphasize] those things that unite us, which are far greater than the things that divide us. We have problems. We have many things that divide us, but we have some core values that unite us. It begins by trying as best we can with News and Guts and on Facebook to remind people that there are powerful forces in this country that are trying to exploit our differences, our divisions for their own partisan, political, and ideological advantage.

“What these powerful forces are attempting to do is say to us it’s irreconcilable. We’re so divided you have to choose a tribe–you have to choose and exclude the other. This is not consistent with the American character nor with our history. Emphasizing again we’re not a perfect people. We’re not a perfect country. But we have these core beliefs in which overwhelmingly most Americans agree, whether they’re conservative or liberal, democrat or republican, left wing or right wing–we believe in a rule of law. We believe in one person, one vote. Yes, there are, again, powerful forces trying to undercut that. But we have these core beliefs. We believe in the power of empathy. We believe in the value of inclusion. We believe in staying steady as a people. And yes, we believe in courage.

“The problem we see spread out in front of us, there is a great, and possibly decisive, battle for the soul of the country. And we’re either going to go in the direction of united we stand or we’re going to go in the direction of divided we fall. I’m an optimist by nature and by experience. It’s not a wooly-headed optimism, ‘Oh, everything is going to be all right.’ But if we get ourselves together, if we hold ourselves together, if we can emphasize the common ground and the values we believe, then in this what I call the great and decisive battle for our country, we’ll be all right.”

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