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Interview with John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor of Constitutional Law Gloria Browne-Marshall; Interview with "Democracy Awakening" Author and Boston College Historian and Professor Heather Cox Richardson; Interview with Legendary Trumpeter and A&M Records Cofounder Herb Alpert. Aired 1:00-2p ET
Aired October 06, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
A vote for women's rights in Iran and around the world, as the Nobel Peace Prize goes to jailed Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi. Correspondent
Jomana Karadsheh interviewed her via letter and audio recording before this announcement. We have that exclusive report and we look back at some of
Christiane's reporting on the Iranian women fighting for their future.
Then, the Supreme Court returns for a new term. As controversies cast a shadow, we look at the cases coming up with constitutional law professor
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON, AUTHOR, "DEMOCRACY AWAKENING" AND HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, BOSTON COLLEGE: How do we look at people who came before us and
see how they faced a similar moment and got out of it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: -- how America got to this political moment? And what we can learn from that story? Historian Heather Cox Richardson speaks Michel
Martin about her new book, "Democracy Awakening."
Plus, a record-breaking career showing no signs of slowing. I'm joined by Grammy award-winning trumpeter, Herb Alpert, to discuss his new album,
"Wish Upon a Star."
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
A woman, a human rights advocate and a freedom fighter. That's how the Noble Committee chair describes our Narges Mohammadi, the winner of his
year's Nobel Peace Prize.
Mohammadi who is currently imprisoned in Iran's notorious Evin Prison has spent life campaigning for women's rights and the abolition of the death
penalty in that country. Work that has come with repeated prison sentences and a ban from seeing her husband and children.
But in a pre-prepared message shared with CNN by her family, Mohammadi said that, I will never stop striving for the realization of democracy, freedom,
And our first report tonight is a testament to Mohammadi's commitment to that cause. Ahead of the Nobel announcement and through the help of
intermediaries, Correspondent Jomana Karadsheh interviewed Mohammadi via letter and audio recording from inside Evin Prison. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Not even the darkest cells of the notorious Evin Prison have silenced this fearless
fighter for freedom. Narges Mohammadi, a name that's become synonymous with the battle for human rights in Iran.
Her life has been a cycle of arrests and rearrests. Now, serving a 10-year prison term and sentenced to 154 lashes. Not only has the regime taken away
her freedom, the last time she held her twins, Ali and Kiana, was eight years ago. There's no only eight. A sacrifice so painful, but life without
liberty and equality, she says, is not wonderful living.
For her activism, Mohammadi has been accused by actions against national security and propaganda against the state. And she's now facing more
charges as she continues to defiantly speak out from behind bars.
In an exclusive recording from inside Evin, Mohammadi reads excerpts of a letter she sent CNN.
NARGES MOHAMMADI, IRANIAN ACTIVIST AND NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER (through translator): This letter is not written by a free feminist in a developed,
democratic society, benefitting from civil protest methods and human rights. But rather by an imprisoned women who, like millions of Iranian
women, has been living under the authority and oppression of a military system with ideological, patriarchal and tyrannical foundations. Since the
age of six, deprived of life, youth, femininity and motherhood.
KARADSHEH (voiceover): In her lengthy letter, Mohammadi reels against the regime's compulsory hijab. Mohammadi calls out what she said is the
hypocrisy of the religious authorities. Female protesters and prisoners sexually assaulted. As Iranians rose up on the streets last year, she lent
her powerful voice to the uprising, and for that, she was recently sentenced to another year in prison.
KARADSHEH: But that hasn't deterred Mohammadi who, with the help of intermediaries, responded to CNN questions in writing, detailing incidents
of sexual assaults dating back to 1999. She also mentions her own experience. But since the protests, she says, they have increased
significantly describing them now as systematic
KARADSHEH (voiceover): She writes, in prison, I have heard the narratives of three protesting women who were sexually assaulted. One of them was a
well-known activist of the student movement who, upon entering the prison, filed a complaint with the authorities and announced that after being
arrested on the street, her one hand and one leg were cuffed and tied. And in that position, she was sexually assaulted.
I went with one of my cellmates under the pretext of taking food for a prisoner. We saw bruises on her stomach, thighs, arms and legs.
The Iranian regime denied has allegations including a CNN investigation of using sexual violence and rape to suppress the protests, calling them
baseless and false. For years, Mohammadi has been the voice of the voiceless, fighting for political prisoners against the death penalty and
solitary confinement. Something she and her husband, Taghi Rahmani, have both endured.
Rahmani, a former political prisoner who was jailed 14 years, now lives in exile with the children in Paris. He's had to be both father and mother and
Kiana and Ali.
TAGHI RAHMANI, NARGES MOHAMMADI'S HUSBAND (through translator): Kiana used to say, when mama is here, daddy isn't. And when daddy is here, mom isn't.
It's not good, but when someone chooses a path, they must endure the hardships.
KARADSHEH (voiceover): The last time they were allowed to call her was 18 months ago. Ali still vividly remembers the day his mother was taken away
ALI RAHMANI, NARGES MOHAMMADI'S SON (through translator): It was around 6:00, 7:00 a.m., my mom made me eggs. She said, take care of yourself and
study hard. And we said goodbye and I got into the car and went to school. When I got back, my mom wasn't there anymore.
KARADSHEH (voiceover): Ali says he's proud of his mom and has accepted this life. He says, it's for freedom, for Iran. Rahmani shows off all the
awards his wife has won while in prison. She's an endless energy for freedom, he tells us. An unstoppable force. Her fight extending deep inside
Evin where she leads women who continue to protest.
Their chance of warm and life freedom captured in this recording shared with CNN. They sing the Farsi rendition of "Bella Ciao," the Italian
antifascist resistance song, now an anthem for Iran's freedom movement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: What incredible bravery. And Mohammadi's son telling CNN today that when he found out the news, his heart exploded with joy. Well, this
Nobel Prize is providing recognition for all the women in Iran who have been fighting long and hard for a better future.
It's a struggle that Christiane has been following throughout her career. In this 1998 report for 60 minutes, she spoke with a lawyer, Shirin Ebadi,
who will become the Iran's first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. A meeting made in tragic circumstances. It was around the case of a child called Arian who
was murdered while in custody of her father. And Arian's mother and Ebadi fought for justice in a system stacked against them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voiceover): Shirin Ebadi represents Arian's mother. She is an out spoken crusader for women's
rights. But Ebadi knows she can't make Arian's father pay for his crime. Because by law here, a father can't be convicted of killing his own child.
SHIRIN EBADI, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER AND NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE (through translator): If Arian's father had strangled her to death in front of
everybody, he would not have been punished.
AMANPOUR: It's incredible. And the clerics, the courts didn't understand that? That he here was completely unsuitable situation, but yet, the child
had to stay with the father until she was killed?
EBADI (through translator): The court is responsible for the death (ph) of Arian. The law is responsible for the murder of Arian. It wasn't just her
father who killed her.
AMANPOUR (voiceover): But by turning this trial into a fight for women's rights, Shirin Ebadi treads on sensitive ground, and the cleric presiding
over the court rebukes her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): These rules are in the Quran and are set by God, who is almighty. The learning of all people is not equal to
one drop of god's wisdom. So, we cannot question the knowledge of God.
AMANPOUR: When he told you knew nothing about Islam, when the court told you that and therefore stop interfering, what did you make of that?
EBADI (through translator): I said, I don't object Islam. But the study of the Quran, our holy book, is not reserved to clerics or. Women have only
recently had access to higher education. Before men could interpret religion and philosophy to serve their own interests.
GOLODRYGA: Arian's father was acquitted of the murder and released, but her stepbrother was found guilty. Arian's mother did not feel like she got
justice for her daughter, but the case did lead to a change in Iran's custody laws. When Shirin Ebadi spoke to Christiane last year in the midst
of these new protests, there was more hope, and she told her that some men are finally coming on board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EBADI (through translator): Iranian men have come to understand that they have to support women. They have understood that democracy will only come
to Iran if we women succeed. In fact, it's the women who will open the gate to democracy in Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: But despite those hopes, many do fear backlash. That was certainly the concern when Christiane spoke to human rights lawyer Nasrin
Sotoudeh in February. In an exclusive interview, Sotoudeh spoke to Christiane from inside Iran and without wearing a headscarf.
Here's what she said when Christiane asked if the situation was improving after the demonstrations.
NASRIN SOTOUDEH, IRANIAN HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER (through translator): If you're talking about officially and whether the situation has changed
officially, no, I can even tell you it's exacerbated. In fact, official authorities are trying to flex their muscles more. They're trying to show
their strength a lot more than before, but civil disobedience continues and many women courageously take to the streets without wearing a headscarf or
any form of the hijab.
AMANPOUR: And finally, Nasreen, are you scared for your safety now, after speaking out publicly and after all that you do and say on behalf of
SOTOUDEH (through translator): Yes. If my -- knowing that my family, my children are being threatened, as a mother, because I know it can curb
their education, it can curb the progress of my children. Yes, I am fearful because of that And I am -- but on the other hand, I'm also frightened that
if I don't do anything, if I stay passive, that would lead to worsening of the situation, the kind of slavery of our young women and men.
So, despite my fear, I try and do what is going to be more helpful for freeing the country and freeing our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: One thing is clear, this movement is not over. That was Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh speaking to Christiane in February.
Well, turning now to the U.S., where the Supreme Court returned to the bench this week, diving back into the consequential and controversial
issues of the moment, all amid scandals of its own. Here to walk us through what's on the docket is Gloria Browne-Marshall, professor of Constitutional
Law and African Studies at John Jay College. She joins me now from New York.
It is great to see you, Gloria. So, let's get right to some of the most consequential cases on the docket. Let's start with the Second Amendment
gun rights will determine, basically, whether people under domestic violence restraining orders can own guns. Now, this law was invalidated by
the Fifth Circuit. We'll talk about the Fifth Circuit in a little bit. But talk about the significance of this case because it did spark a quick
backlash from the Biden administration asking the justices to grant review and reverse the Fifth Circuit's ruling. And here's what the solicitor
general said, that it would threaten grave harms for victims of domestic violence. Give us some more context here.
GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, Professor of Constitutional Law, John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Well, we have a relationship in which there were
threats made to the girlfriend of Rahimi. And during that time period, she sought a restraining order and received it. So, he is to stay away. But
under federal law, in a restraining order, a state law, but under federal law, he, as someone under restraining order, is not allowed to have a
weapon. It is a federal offense.
When police officers searched his home on another cause, they found the weapon. He said it was his weapon. Rahimi was charged and he was found
guilty of violating that federal law that prohibits someone who's under restraining order from having possession of a weapon.
He appeals, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upon appeal decided that they were going to strike down application of the federal law in their
State of Texas.? What really bothers me, I think, of -- in this case, that's before the court and the Justice Department has asked the Supreme
Court to think about what they're saying with mass murders, with this nation being known as a place where murders take place on a very high
level, all the time, this one federal act was a way in which it could undermine the types of mass murders and domestic violence that involve gun
And instead of upholding such an act, the Fifth Circuit decided it would rather prevail in support of the possession of guns under the Second
BROWNE-MARSHALL: And because of the New York case, prior to that, they feel they have precedent to do so.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And the New York case was really a precedent, as you note, to where we are right now. The Fifth Circuit ruling that the law is an
"outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted." Obviously, you don't know what the ultimate ruling will be from the Supreme Court. But
given its makeup, how do you think they will respond to some of that justification from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals?
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, I actually write books on legal history that would take into account that conservatives weren't the only people in America,
100 years ago, 200 years ago, in 1791, when the Bill of rights was Drafted. So, conservatives aren't the only voice that we should be interpreting our
laws to -- and have applied to our laws.
My concern is Clarence Thomas, in the New York State Rifles Association case versus Bruen, said we have to look at what history was like back in
1791 up until 1865. This is very arbitrary. Because it takes into account that for some reason only those conservative voices during that time period
are the ones that the court is going to listen to.
And so, when we're looking at this case and they're saying, we're going to apply the historical context, it's already skewed, because there is skewed
look of history, there's an arbitrary look at history. If it was only a conservative voice that ruled this country, we would not have had a civil
war. We would not have had cases and people who abolitionists against slavery, who are fighting for women's rights to vote. We had so many ways
in which of this country is represented by more than just conservative originalism.
And that's what the court's conservatives are relying on, especially Clarence Thomas, who is by far the most conservative justice on court right
GOLODRYGA: Another case the court will be facing involves First Amendment issues, specifically as they relate to social media. Walk us through the
significance here and the impact that some decisions made by elected officials, whether or not, as some are accusing, there have been accused of
violating the First Amendment for taking down or blocking what people have posted on social media sites?
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, I remember being on the U.S. Supreme Court in the court hearing of the first case involving a cell phone. And the cases have
changed over time. But basically, the court has had a discomfort with social media, with technology, with trying to figure out where individual
rights end and tech rights or the rights of the world of social media or the Metaverse begins.
And in one case we have in California, we have a school board there. And during the time period of the school board's members actually trying to, of
course, have their administration of rules, regulations, et cetera, you would have people in the community, and in this case, the Garnier (ph) and
that the Garnier (ph) family, the husband and wife, were sending very deep criticisms, stark remarks on social media page that's been created by
school board members.
And so, the school board members decided first to delete some of the harsh criticism. And then, to block the criticism from coming through at all. So,
they were blocked from being able to put their comments on that webpage. The Garnier's (ph) sued and said they have a First Amendment right freedom
of speech to say what they wanted to say to the school board members.
We have the Texas case involving Texas and Florida, where Texas and Florida then on the other side, their legislative bodies had laws saying that the
social media platforms could not block conservatives and therefore, all people from saying whatever they wanted to say on a social media platform.
So, you have these cases, three cases, the Texas and Florida case as well as the California case going before the court.
And the court has to decide. And remember, they have this discomfort with it in the first place before many of them are much older and they're not
really looking at social media as something that is primary to First Amendment, but they are going to have to face the fact that this jungle of
First Amendment law has to, in some way, reconcile with the future, with our times today, and also with the ability to control hate speech on social
media, as well as racist speech and other types of provocation by hate groups and ways in which people are being made to be politically
disenfranchised or even the bots that are on social media.
BROWNE-MARSHALL: So, there are many ways in which these cases, if they're -- probably the court is going to look at it very narrowly, but there's a
lot to really parse out here.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Technology regulation overall is one of the most challenging issues facing not only the court, but Congress as well. Another
issue that will go up before the court is gerrymandering or redistricting. Justices will consider a congressional redistricting plan drawn by South
Carolina's Republican controlled legislature.
I'm wondering how you think they will rule here, given their recent decision, rejecting Alabama's bid to use a congressional map that just had
one majority black district. Do you think they'll follow along with the logic behind that ruling in this one?
BROWNE-MARSHALL: People were very surprised by the Alabama outcome because of what had taken place in the Dobbs ruling, undermining a woman's right to
choose as well as other conservative rulings from this court. Chief Justice Roberts made his bones in voting rights. He was the one who wrote the
opinion that gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
My concern here is these cases are so blatant that we're giving the Supreme Court, probably the conservatives, much more credit because the three-judge
court that actually ruled on the South Carolina case, finding that there were stark racial gerrymandering tactics being used by the conservative
South Carolina legislature to take 30,000 people who are of African descent primarily and move them to another district and gerrymandering is basically
to have an entanglement of districting in a way that is going to undermine the voting capacity of a particular group. In this case, is African
Americans in Charleston and in North Charleston.
And the black vote has been a powerful vote since 1870, when black men gained the right to vote. And then when black women gained the right to
vote with other women in 1920. The undermining of the black vote shows its power, but it also shows how black vote dilution is working.
So, to break apart, to crack these districts, and then make them minorities within another district, whether then to have the power, the full power of
the other -- of this -- the district that they're in, which is the city. Now, let's say this one last thing, with, with re-gentrification and more
white people moving from the suburbs and from rural places into the cities, the cities that were abandoned before and became majority people of color,
now, other people are moving into these cities and they want control, whether or not it's local, state, or in this case, federal control. And
that's going to be an ongoing issue as people come into the cities and want to wrest away the political power that's been gained by African Americans,
in this case, Charleston.
I do believe that the Supreme Court should follow its precedent, but in so many cases, we never know, with this Supreme Court and the conservatives on
GOLODRYGA: Well, what do you make about the Supreme Court following precedent with the ruling that the FDA should not be challenged in terms of
their decisions and approval process? You mentioned the Dobbs case and overturning Roe v. Wade. The Mifepristone, the abortion pill that is the
most commonly used way that women terminate pregnancies today, over 5 million women in the U.S. have used it for decades, that is coming up
before the court as well. How do you expect them to incorporate the past rulings and precedent on this specific issue?
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, my concern is this is when the shadow docket of the Supreme Court is going to play a major role. The court has been making
rulings without any names, without any decisions.
And when the court decided to hold off on the Mifepristone and decide not to have it -- you know, the ruling of the lower court to not to allow it to
be taken off of the market, the idea was to -- that the Republicans and other conservatives are challenging the ability of the FDA, the Food and
Drug Administration, to make independent judgments. That is something that's unprecedented. Because that means the political judgment is going to
take the place of people who are scientists, who are doctors who are deciding whether or not a drug is safe.
Their argument is that the FDA was wrong when it decided that this drug was safe and it should be taken off the market and therefore not made
available. And there are other administrative type U.S. Supreme Court cases also where there are challenges to the ability of agencies to be the
smartest, the most informed about the content of the issues before that agency. And that the political process, people in political offices should
be deciding in the place of the members of a particular agency who are in that agency and working with those issues day in and out --
BROWNE-MARSHALL: -- because certain people don't like the decisions of the agency.
GOLODRYGA: Well, you just laid out for us -- I feel like we got a crash course in one of your lectures, all -- just a handful actually of the
consequential cases that will going up before the Supreme Court. Would love to have you back and talk about other issues like the Fifth Circuit Court
of Appeals, how Trump's potential appeals in his indictments will be affected by the Supreme Court perhaps. But that will be for another time.
Gloria Browne-Marshall, thank you so much. A lot to talk about.
Well, the Supreme Court is just one example of the eroding trust in America's institutions. For decades, an elite majority has weaponized
language and promoted false history, according to historian Heather Cox Richardson. She explores how this has led some Americans into
authoritarianism in her new book. And she joins Michel Martin to discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Heather Cox Richardson, thank you so much for speaking with us.
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON, AUTHOR, "DEMOCRACY AWAKENING" AND HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, BOSTON COLLEGE: Oh, it's such a pleasure.
MARTIN: As you and I are speaking now, we're in this really strange kind of moment where, you know, the speaker of the house, Kevin McCarthy, is
losing his job because he compromised with the Democrats to keep the government open and, you know, all these other things. Looking at all the
things that are going on in our politics at the moment, is there a way you could put this in the context for us?
RICHARDSON: Yes. But let's start with what you just said, the idea that for the speaker of the house, who is a Republican, to work with Democrats
who, of course, represent their constituents, to keep the government open is somehow something that makes him in his own conference be unpopular.
That is completely antithetical to the way the government was always supposed to work.
So, from the beginning, we're in a really unusual moment. One of the things that I study, of course, is what's happened to the Republican Party. And
one of the things I like to emphasize is this is not your mother's Republican Party. It has become an extremist faction that has within its
goals to get rid of the kind of government under which we have lived since 1933.
So, you have to start from the premise that you can't both sides this issue. We have a national problem that is embodied by one hard right
extremist party. That's not to say the Democrats are right about everything, but that's to say that this is a moment in which we have to
take a step back and recognize a larger challenge to our democracy that happens to be embodied right now by a certain division -- you know, a
certain partisan division, but one that echoes other moments in our history that we got through by working together to isolate the extremists.
MARTIN: And I'm going to ask you to kind of walk us through your argument, that is the subject of your book, "Democracy Awakening." But I kind of want
to skip ahead to the point you make several times in the book. You make the point very persuasively and chillingly, I have to say, that sometimes
people get to a point where they're so invested in their belief system, they don't care what's true. OK. So, I'm just interested in if you believe
that that's where we are, how do you address that?
RICHARDSON: Well, yes. And that's not original to me. That's something that scholars of authoritarianism and totalitarianism have identified at
least since World War II. And their question was this, why do we need to worry about the rise of dictators where when the real problem is the who
follow the dictators? Because every generation has authoritarians and dictators, but only in some generations do they actually get enough
traction to take over a government.
And what they argued, and I think what we see nowadays, really clearly is the rise of a politics that erases reality in favor of a really attractive
image or an attractive image for some people. And what that image says is that we can take you people who feel disaffected either economically or
religiously or culturally, socially and we can make you feel as important as you used to. And the way that we're going to do that is by going back to
a series of laws that are either divine or set down by the universe that our enemies, and who those enemies are doesn't really matter, are ignoring.
And on that beautiful story, a number of people begin to rest their identities. And they don't necessarily expect their lives are going to get
better, they expect they're defending this traditional vision of a country. And this is not, by the way, unique to the United States.
The trick to this though is, I think that people begin to be attracted by that false reality and some people really do give it their identities. But
most are more than willing to embrace a different identity. An identity that actually solves problems and identity that actually moves this country
forward to expand our democracy as they have in the past. And those are the people we want to be talking to and emphasizing for you now, not that 20 so
-- 20 or so percent of Americans who are simply lost. And you will see that in any kind of rise of a totalitarian movement, and then later on its fall.
Some people simply cannot let go of that identity. But most people can recognize either that they've been duped and they become apathetic again or
that they've been duped and they need to fight back to take back a real country.
MARTIN: So, who was -- who's your book for? Who are you writing for?
RICHARDSON: So, this book is for the people who want to understand our country. Want to feel a part of it but feel like there's too much coming at
them to understand all the different pieces. When did the parties switch sides? What's is the electoral college? What does the constitution say in
the 14th Amendment? All those different things that seem to be in the news but aren't there in such an orderly way that you can understand them.
So, this is really a series of short essays that take you through how we got here from 1937 to 2015. What the rise of an authoritarian meant in the
United States from 2015 until the present. And crucially that final section, how do we look at the people who came before us and see how they
faced a similar moment and got out of it.
MARTIN: Let's just start at -- with the new deal, that's the first section of the book. You said that FDR created what you call, a liberal consensus
in government that kind of defined the years after World War II. And when authoritarianism in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world was defeated,
what -- how did that liberal consensus came about? Was it the people actually saw material improvement in their lives or was it the external
threat of the war?
RICHARDSON: That's a really important piece of what's going on, and I'm glad you called that out. Because the liberal consensus comes not only from
FDR who does, in fact, help people's material lives during the depression by inventing a government that are -- picking up a government that
regulates business, provides a basic social safety net, promotes infrastructure, things like the TV -- Tennessee Valley Authority, and
begins to flirt with the idea of the government protecting civil rights in the States.
But crucially it's not really the Democrats who pushed that part of the liberal consensus in this period, although Truman does quite a lot. It's
really under Republican Dwight Eisenhower that the government begins to protect civil rights in the States. And those four pieces together make the
liberal consensus which does, in fact, dramatically help people's economic lives.
That matters because when peoples' economic lives are better, historically in the United States, they are also much more willing to accord rights to
people of color, and women, minorities. When they're not, when -- they're not so much when they're not able to put food on table. So, those things do
go hand-in-hand. And they are, at first, I think, a reaction to the fact that somebody's got to do something about the depression.
But crucially, what FDR begins to do is to articulate the principles of democracy that monitory populations had been holding high all along. So, he
begins very articulately to defend democracy and defend the principles of democracy against fascism, for example, in a way that really inspires
people to carry that torch forward. And you can see it really dramatically in moment that Rome falls, for example, and he gives a very powerful speech
about how even though the fascists promised everything, look who's feeding the starving people in Rome. It's us, the democratic governments.
So, that idea of helping people at a very basic economic level and also at the -- soon to be at the level of civil rights in the States then becomes a
profound defense of the concept of human self-determination as it's embodied in democracy.
MARTIN: You draw a through line from FDR to Joe Biden. I mean, the Infrastructure Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and so forth. You also
draw a through line between those counter veiling forces who you say, you know, continually try to marshal racial grievance in the service of
authoritarianism and in the service of, basically, you know, an unbalanced economy that benefits the few at the expense of the many. And I'm just so
curious of, like, when you, sort of, say, gosh, we've seen this movie over and over again. Why does it still work?
RICHARDSON: I'm making the point that that idea that some people are better than others certainly runs all the way through the United States,
you know, through the 1890s and the Rise of the Robber Barons, and the elite enslavers in the 1850s all the way back to the founding fathers.
And at the end of the day, I think what I'm really articulating is the ongoing struggle, at least in the United States, between the concepts that
everybody is created equal and has an equal right to be treated equally before the laws and have a say in the government on the one hand. And on
the other hand, the idea that some people really are better than others and have a duty and a right to rule over the rest of us. Those are two really
fundamental ideas about the way that human society should be organized.
Now, why we keep embracing the one, the expansion of liberal democracy and then abandoning it, I actually think it comes from the fact that because it
works, people tend to think we're always going to have it. And they stop paying attention and they stop defending it.
So, in 1960, there was actually a political scientist who said, listen, we all agree on a liberal consensus. So, let's stop talking about it and
instead build political coalitions by hammering together different groups who want specific things from that liberal government. And when that
happened, that left the room for a new narrative to come up from this small faction of people who wanted to overturn the liberal consensus, and they
gave us that idea of the cowboy standing alone against the big government, the socialist government.
And that, I think, is the problem that when things are -- when things look like they're stable, we back off and say, OK, we're all set now. And that
opens the way for people who are standing against that consensus to get a real foothold.
MARTIN: You know, on the one hand many people consider our democratic institutions to be at a time of, kind of, great peril. And -- but then
other people would look at this and say that they've survived before. They've survived, sort of, you know, grievous threats. I mean, the civil
war, for example. Is there something fundamentally self-protective about the American experience that acts as a -- I don't know, bullwork against
RICHARDSON: What you've identified to me is the exciting part of this book. And that is -- it's the central question. Why -- when all sorts of
other countries fell to fascism, why didn't America? And what I came to believe is that when I was writing this book and through my years as a
historian is that the United States has, in a funny way, had an enucleation against fascism for the simple reason that it has always had such a
complicated history with race and immigration.
That is that marginalized Americans from the very beginning center the Declaration of Independence and the idea that they must be treated equally
before the laws and they must have a right to a say in their government. So, while other countries could take that for granted or could say that
this is -- has already been established, we don't have to think about it. Americans were out there every minute saying, hey, wait a minute, what
And because of that, that constant struggle to make that liberal democracy actually become real, Americans had it in front of them and still have it
in front of us in a way that we might not. Were we not such a dramatically multi-cultural society.
MARTIN: Give us an example of how you say a group of people who represent historically marginalized people are really the ones who hold America to
RICHARDSON: Well, so, one of the things that really jumped out in that final section is, in fact, the NAACP, the National Advance -- Association
for the Advancement of Colored People which is formed in 1909, sort of, technically around-ish Abraham Lincoln's birthday, quite deliberately
because it is a multiracial, multi-religious, multicultural group that says we simply must make the principles of the Declaration of Independence apply
to everybody in this country.
So, one of the things that really jumps out when you look at the NAACP as one of the founders of it, of course, is Ida B. Wells who's a phenomenal
journalist who's known for bringing light to lynchings, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
But one of the other people is W.E.B. Du Bois who's just an absolutely brilliant sociologist. He could do anything he wanted. And what does he do?
He decides that he wants to edit "The Crisis", which is the NAACP's magazine. Now, this is -- he takes all his extraordinary talents to that
magazine and constantly hammers on this is what it means in this country to have some people treated differently before the law than others.
And if you go forward from that moment of 1909, the NAACP is constantly pulling together statistics, hanging out flags every time somebody is
lynched. Making sure that popular figures in American culture are out there talking about what it means when, in fact, you know, a young woman walking
home from church is gang raped. What it means when somebody comes home from fighting in World War II and has his eyes put out, and even though the
perpetrator confesses to the crime ends up being acquitted of it.
They keep that in front of people constantly. So, one of the things, when I think about the expansion of liberal democracy in my era, is that we tend
to focus on heroes. We tend to focus on, for example, Rosa Parks and say, oh, she didn't -- you know, her feet were tired.
Rosa Parks worked for the NAACP. She had been out there in the field collecting these statistics. Working with people. Making sure people knew
what was going on. And at the end of the day, the NAACP becomes this extraordinarily powerful way to shine light on this fundamental
contradiction in the United States. But some people were not treated equally before the law and had no right to have a say in their government.
And they're a great example, I think, of people saying, hey, wait a minute, this is not about an individual. It's not about a certain group. It's about
the country and what this country is supposed to stand for.
MARTIN: How though do you address, based on sort of your historical knowledge and your deep reporting, this -- the ongoing power of white
grievance? And for whatever reason, as you've pointed out in your book, this kind of we're not get outstanding fair share argument, or that these
people, these other people, these minority people, these brown people are getting more than their fair share at the expense of us is a very powerful
argument. How do well-meaning people who do believe in a government and in a country that includes all the people who live here and contribute to it
should benefit from it? How does that -- how does one address that?
RICHARDSON: Well, historically, that is worked by making the economic pie fairer. That is people are very susceptible to that language. White people
are very susceptible to that language when their own tables are barer than they used to be. That is -- it's always important to remember that the rise
of white grievance tracks very, very closely to the concentration of wealth at the top of the scale. You could see it in the 1890s, you can see it in
the 1920s, you can certainly see it in present, you can see it in the 1850s.
And the -- at the 1850's and the 18th -- early 1860s in the American south where, in fact, wealth was dramatically concentrating in about one percent
of the white population, leaving the rest of the white population much of it homeless. So, the -- it's always important to remember that those things
track economically as well.
MARTIN: So, before we let you go, if -- let's say, I know you identify yourself as a conservative. You say in the same way that Lincoln did, which
is that you adhere to first principles. These were the principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence, our founding document. What
about people who don't see it that way? Who could say, well, you know what, no. I'm a conservative because I believe in small government. I believe
that, you know, that traditional family structures are the best. I believe in a minimal federal footprint, it's a -- that's what makes me a
conservative. Do you have an argument for them?
RICHARDSON: Yes, and the answer is, of course, by reaching back to Lincoln and trying to reclaim the mantel of conservativism for, if you will,
progressivism. I'm trying to make the point that today's Republicans who talk about, for example, small government are simply not trying to do that
at all. They're in fact, talking about a large government that going to impose Christian nationalism on the rest of us.
You know, we need to have working political parties that are functioning in the real world in this moment. And it's a give and take between those
things that will get us to a reasonable government that operates in the real world. But that's not where we are right now. And where we are right
now is that those people who believe those things need to work with people like me who have a different perspective on it to get rid of those who
disagree with those principles altogether. Want to get rid of the American government that does things like protect civil rights. That does things
like regulate business or has a basic social safety net or promotes infrastructure.
Because those are things that the vast majority of Americans agree on. Those are the things that are traditional in this country. They're the
things under which we tend to have the most just society, both economically, culturally and religiously. And those are the true values of
Americans, and those are the things on which we need to stand right now.
Once we've done that, sure, let's go fight tooth and nail about mortgage rates, or let's go fight tooth and nail about what we should do in our
public schools. But until we have the restoration of our democracy, the rest of it needs to be moved off the table.
MARTIN: Heather Cox Richardson, thank you so much for talking with us.
RICHARDSON: Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And finally, a real treat with a musical legend. Herb Alpert made his name as a trumpeter and songwriter, penning classics like "Spanish
Flea" with his band like Tijuana Brass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Working with artist like Burt Bacharach and Sam Cooke, Alpert wrote some of the all-time great songs. All the while, his record label A&M
signed budding megastars like The Carpenters, Carole King, and Janet Jackson.
Now, at 88, he is releasing a brand-new album of his own music called "Wish Upon a Star. Well, our wish has certainly been granted because Herb Alpert
Herb, I do believe that you are the first trumpeter to make an appearance on "Amanpour." So, don't quote me on it but I believe this is the first.
HERB ALPERT, LEGENDARY TRUMPETER AND COFOUNDER, A&M RECORDS: New record. New -- oh, I like that.
GOLODRYGA: It is so great --
GOLODRYGA: -- to see you. We -- I can't begin to tell you how excited we've been for this segment to be able to talk to you and congratulations
on the new album. So, let's just start there. It debuted already on number one on the chart for current contemporary jazz albums. It's a collection,
it takes on classical songs like from The Beatles and from Elvis. And the namesake, obviously, the Disney song, "When You Wish Upon a Star." I want
to play a track from the new album. It is the lead singer -- lead single, a rendition of Jerry Reed's, "East Bound and Down."
ALPERT: Oh, boy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Oh, that takes me back, Herb.
GOLODRYGA: Talk to us about this new album and why you chose to make it.
ALPERT: Well, it's just a series of songs that haunt me that -- you know, that song that you just played. I saw that "Smokey and the Bandit's" movie
about, I don't know, a hundred years ago. And I couldn't get this song out of my mind. It was written by Jerry Reed. Jerry Reed was in the movie. He
was driving an 18-wheeler, and this song was playing, and ever since then I just felt, is there a way I can do this song that maybe hasn't been done
that way before?
And just did it. And lo and behold, I got invited to play with the Grand Ole Opry, and I did that about a month ago. And it was a fabulous night,
one of the best nights of my life as a musician.
GOLODRYGA: Well, as you know, you have a legion of fans from amateurs and those who are professionals alike. Miles Davis, actually said that you hear
three notes and you know it's Herb Alpert. Tell us more about your unique style -- I mean, in fact we should tell our viewers, your song rise has
been sampled by several artists including Notorious B.I.G. and Nas.
ALPERT: Well, I just choose songs that touch me, you know, I try to be honest the way I play. I'm not a -- I'm a jazz musician at heart, you know,
that's -- I like impromptu -- provisional (ph) type music. And I just go for the songs that make me feel good when I hear it, you know. And oddly
enough, I don't know if I've told this to too many people. Is anybody listening? I make songs for myself.
You know, I record songs that make me feel good. And then if I have a collection of songs, I'll put them in an album and that's about it. There's
not like -- I don't have like a major plan actually. I get lucky a lot of the times. And I'll tell you, I got lucky with -- somebody picked up one of
my songs in that I recorded 60 years ago on TikTok and so far, I've had 200 million streams on that one song called "Ladyfingers". So, I mean --
GOLODRYGA: I think it --
ALPERT: -- this is totally out of the blue.
GOLODRYGA: I think it takes a little more than luck, but luck goes a long way too. We'll all take luck. You've had luck for 80 years now. You were
eight years old when you first picked up a trumpet and I guess it was love at first sound ever since. Speaking of timeless music, can we just play Sam
Cooke's "Wonderful World".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM COOKE, SINGER: Don't know much about history. Don't know much biology. Don't know much about science book. Don't know much about the French I
took. But I do know that I love you. And I know that if you love me too, what a wonderful world this would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: I mean, talk about timeless music, that is just a song that you can hear time and time again no matter how old you are, no matter who you
were with. When you hear that song now, does it resonate with you differently than it did the first, I don't know, thousand times you did?
ALPERT: Well, it does because I learned a lot from Sam. Sam was a fantastic artist. A wonderful gentleman. And he used to come up to me with
a notebook filled with lyrics. And he showed me this lyric and he said, Herby (ph), what do you think of this lyric?
And I looked at it and I think, man, this is the corniest lyric I've ever seen, I didn't say that to him. But I said, what does the song sound like?
So, he picked up his guitar and started singing the song, and I'm saying, holy, man, this is -- it ain't what you do. It's the way how you do it. He
-- and the way he phrased the song, the melody he put to the song, the way -- you know, the passion he put into it. I said, that's music. That's
making music. And so, I learned a lot from him. And so, when I hear that song, I think about Sam. He was a lovely person.
GOLODRYGA: That's a phenomenal song. We should note that you and your partner at A&M, Jerry Moss, who started this record label. Your roster, I
mean, come on, Cat Stevens, Carole King, The Police, Janet Jackson just to name some. Well, Jerry recently passed away, and I'm sorry for the loss of
your colleague and your dear friend, and huge loss to the music world.
I want you to read for you something that Sting said about you both in "The New York Times." And he said, they were gentlemen. I think they're
extraordinary success was really predicated on those very human qualities. Not being ruthless business or kill to be killed people. They were artists
friendly. You know, this comes at a time when there's this debate about whether genius, no matter what industry you're in, has to come with
somebody being ruthless or cruel. You, sort of, disproved that, wouldn't you say?
ALPERT: Well, you know, I think you have to be at the right place at the right time. Time and place is such an important part of it all. And we were
at the right place. And, you know, prior to A&M, I recorded for a major company. And I wasn't crazy about the way they were treating me. They --
you know, at point, I wanted to overdump my trumpet and do some things that I thought were appropriate and they wouldn't let me because of the union
problems, et cetera.
And I said, well, if I ever had my own record company, I'd do it a much different way. I'd -- the record company should revolve -- a music company
should revolve around the artist, and that's the way we made it.
GOLODRYGA: I have to mention that behind you, I spy a trumpet. And I'd be --
ALPERT: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
GOLODRYGA: -- kicking myself if I didn't ask you, if you don't mind. If you would feel -- if it would be the right time to play something for us.
ALPERT: What would you like to hear?
GOLODRYGA: You know what, I'll let you pick.
ALPERT: Any particular theme.
GOLODRYGA: I'll let you pick. I'm not going to be greedy here.
ALPERT: So, it started out with.
ALPERT: You know, so that's the long A bone (ph).
ALPERT: That was -- what you already played before, "Spanish Lady." And then --
ALPERT: -- that's "Rise", it was a number one record. So, I have this record of being the only artist that has a number one record as a vocalist,
"This Guy's In Love With You". And that this song I just played, "Rise".
ALPERT: I love that song, "Smile". It's a song we play in concert, and every time I do it, it gets a great reaction. Something about that melody,
that melody, and it's all about melody. I think it's all about melody. You certainly have to have a good lyric if you're writing a, you know, a vocal
but the melody is supreme. Great lyric without a good melody isn't going to go as far as a great melody with a great lyric.
GOLODRYGA: That is --
ALPERT: And that's with Burt Bacharach -- and my dear friend Burt had with Hal David.
GOLODRYGA: That is just lovely. I mean, I didn't even want to speak because I didn't want to interrupt that beautiful music with the sound of
my voice. In the final seconds we have left. What is next for you? You've got a new album. You're clearly still passionate about what you're doing.
What do you enjoy doing now?
ALPERT: Well, I want to give back as much as I can to artists. I think artists are the heartbeat of our world. I'm talking about not only
musicians but painters, sculptures, actors, poets, you know. We're the ones that kind of identify and make it feel good. And everybody, for the most
part, is creative. I think we, kind of, beat creativity out of kids at an early age. I think we should get more credit to the arts. And I hope there
are politicians can someday recognize that because the artists are crucially important to the survival of our world.
GOLODRYGA: You have been a gift to this world, and I do want to correct myself, you're not the first trumpeter on with Christiane, of course. But
in 2016, you're in good company, she interviewed Wynton Marsalis. I'm sure you would approve with that.
ALPERT: Oh, yes. Wynton, he's a wonderful -- not only a wonderful artist. A great human being.
GOLODRYGA: Well, Herb Alpert --
ALPERT: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: -- thank you so much for joining us. It has been a real special treat, and congratulations on the album. Keep playing.
ALPERT: My pleasure, thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.