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Don Lemon Tonight
President Biden Called Out Spreaders of Misinformation; Marjorie Taylor Greene Wants to be in the January 6 Committee; From Anti-Vaccine to Now Promoter of Vaccine; Two Faces of the Justice System; Biden's Child Tax Credit Will Lift Children from Poverty; Democrats Fight for Voting Rights. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 16, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Hey, I wish you every blessing. I wish you good health and I hope you have a good weekend. But before you do, you got to get your brain food. And that's the upgrade. Don Lemon Tonight with Laura Coates right now.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I'll market that. Brain food. I love it. Thanks, Chris Cuomo. Have a good weekend.
CUOMO: You, too, my friend.
COATES: This is Don Lemon Tonight. And I'm Laura Coates in for Don Lemon.
You know, the sad truth this is America's gains against COVID are quickly unraveling because now for the first time since January, COVID cases are rising in all 50 states. And President Joe Biden is pointing the finger right at social media bluntly accusing the platforms of killing people with the spread of misinformation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: COVID misinformation, what's your message to platforms like Facebook?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're killing people. I mean, they --
BIDEN: -- look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated and that's -- they're killing people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Now, once we were almost helpless to combat COVID. Today, we're watching the spread of something that actually might be preventable with vaccination. And the truth is, the ills of social media might also be completely preventable with truth and information. But it's been a week of misinformation on every front.
From the pandemic to the big lie that's still alive and thriving even today with bogus claims about non-existent election fraud fueling the nationwide assault on the right to vote.
Now tonight, Mike Pence who was threatened with hanging by the rioters on January 6th letting a little bit of truth sneak out in the midst of praising his former boss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been through a lot in the last year. I mean, a global pandemic, civil unrest, a decisive election, a tragic day in our nation's capitol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: And as Kevin McCarthy is weighing his picks for the select committee to investigate what Mike Pence called a tragic day, the QAnon congresswoman one of the biggest deniers of what we all saw with our own eyes on January 6th, well she wants a seat at the table.
Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeting Republicans on the committee should be the toughest fighters and defend the former president.
So now let me get this straight. One of the biggest proponents of the big lie, not to mention all those QAnon conspiracy theories now wants to be on the select committee so that she can fight against the committee's mission to find the truth. The truth of information that we need to protect our democracy and our lives.
I want to bring in CNN political commentator Charlie Dent, and former Republican congresswoman -- congressman -- excuse me, and CNN senior political analyst Kirsten Powers. Nice to see you both.
Charlie, let me begin with you here. Because whether it's COVID or the big lie, I mean, misinformation is running wild and what is this doing to our country?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Laura, what's happening is our citizens now, our fellow citizens can't agree on basic facts because of all this misinformation and of course, the casualty is the truth, and it's part of the reason why this nation is so divided. And I wish there was an easy answer to this but we all have to do a better job presenting better information.
And we have people in high positions of responsibility who need to lead right now, stand up and speak truth. You know, on another network we have anchors, you know, casting doubt on the vaccinations and why they are important. I mean, we have a lot of people out there who know better who are saying stupid things because they want to -- because they want to attract an audience it seems and monetize whatever it is they're selling and this is the tragedy but truth is -- truth is a casualty.
COATES: I mean, Kirsten, I want to hear your thoughts on this idea the appetite and the idea of monetizing the falsehoods and it's got to be said that these social media companies and Fox and other right-wing media are making big profits. It's now become so distorted in America that as Charlie talked about, misinformation is both big business and also a way to manipulate people and stay in power. That's a really dangerous combination, don't you think?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's incredibly dangerous. And what's so twisted about it, is that they portray themselves whether it's the people in the media at Fox News or whether it's the people that I think Joe Biden was talking about, which have been called the disinformation dozen.
It's about a dozen influencers who put out, you know, the majority of the misinformation about vaccines they present themselves as the only people who are telling the truths, right? So that's what makes it so particularly twisted is that you have people who don't trust other sources coming to these people who are telling them this and who are monetizing the misinformation.
They are building an audience off of telling people things that aren't true and that they know aren't true. That's the thing. It's not, it's not that they're not smart enough to know this, it's not that they don't have the right information, it's that they know that this is how they get an audience and how they keep an audience and they are willing to do that and the results of it in this case, is deadly.
COATES: And Kirsten, it's, you know, the idea that it's a willing audience, as well, that are eyeing up to follow to actually hear it and receive the information and follow it is really shocking, as well.
Charlie, if you look at the polls of who has received a vaccine dose, nearly two-thirds of those who think Biden won because of voter fraud, they haven't been vaccinated. So, what possible incentive do Republicans or right-wing media even have for putting out lies that frankly can kill their own supporters?
DENT: Well, again, this makes no sense. I think the argument has to be that people who live -- that physicians, health care professionals who live in those states in those districts where there are low vaccination rates they need to be the ones who have those conversations with their patients and tell them why it's important to get vaccinated.
They need to tell them if you are not going to do it for yourself, do it for the kids. Many of whom are not permitted or eligible to be vaccinated at this point and they can get sick. Do it for them. Protect them and your unvaccinated friends and your unvaccinated family. Do it for them if you can't do it for yourself.
I mean, it's so sad that vaccinations have become so politicized. I mean, who could have ever thought of this? I mean, this isn't like abortion for heaven's sake. I mean, this is vaccinations, basic public health and that's what is so troubling about why this country is so divided that we seem to politicize everything, even things that are good for us.
COATES: I mean, Kirsten, are we now at the point where if you're an adult and you've not been vaccinated, it's your own personal responsibility if you get seriously ill from COVID? Is that where we are?
POWERS: Of course. I mean, you have -- if you have an opportunity and you haven't done it and the thing is, you can still get COVID if you've been vaccinated. It's pretty unlikely but it won't be deadly. It won't -- and it won't be as bad.
So, by choosing to not get it, you are putting yourself in peril of possibly dying and of possibly getting very, very ill. But I think the thing is just listening to Charlie, this has been the thing that everyone has been saying. I've been saying, we've been saying over and over, just try to think of other people. And I think it's pretty clear at this point that these people don't care.
They're not -- like this isn't an argument that works with them. Right? The idea that and I hear people saying this. It's like I'm not worried about it because I'm not in the age group. It's like, OK. But other people are. What is so hard about this? And what is so hard about thinking about other people?
And that's the thing that I think has to be figured out is how do we get to a place where people have such disregard for other people that they think putting a little piece of cloth over their face is just too much of a sacrifice to make -- to save people's lives. It's just -- it just incredible.
COATES: It is, indeed. Kirsten, Charlie, thank you. Later in the show we're going to talk to somebody by the way who was formally an anti- vaxxer and I want to hear from her what changed her mind and answer the question of what arguments could actually work with someone like that.
Thank you for your time. Both of you.
I want to bring in Kara Swisher who is a New York Times opinion contributing writer and host of the podcast Sway. Kara, nice to see you. Thank you.
KARA SWISHER, OPINION CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: Nice to see you.
COATES: You know, President Biden is slamming these platforms for COVID misinformation.
COATES: I wonder, we were just talking with the last guest here, is being named and shamed going to make any difference whatsoever to these companies?
SWISHER: Well, I don't know. It depends. I mean, it's not a good position to be in to be called killers by the president, you know, it's not, or that you're responsible for people dying or things like that. He's sort of, pumping the man would say makers of opiates or things like that or cigarette makers or something like that.
So, you don't want to get in those boxes. I think there is a lot of tension between these companies and the Biden administration which is pushing hard on this information issue because they want information from good information from Facebook and others about this.
And so I think it's an ongoing struggle because these companies, you know, one thing after another has happened whether helping Donald Trump, you know, insight violence after the -- for January 6th, which they waited and waited and waited to cut him off or anything else.
So, it's been one situation after another for these companies and it's not a great situation for a business to be in although the business has never been better, let me say that or the stocks.
COATES: Well, you know, you're right about the idea of Facebook being that sort of persona non grata. It didn't start now. It's been for quite some time. The 2016 election, et cetera, all that's been part of it as well.
And Facebook by way, Kara, is putting out a defiant statement. I want to read it for you here.
COATES: They say, we will not be distracted by accusations which aren't supported by the facts. The fact is that more than two billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook.
And Kara, you actually spoke with the White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain on your podcast about Facebook. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I've told Mark Zuckerberg directly that when we gather groups of people who are not vaccinated and we ask them why aren't you vaccinated, and they tell us things that are wrong, tell us things that are untrue, and we ask them where they've heard that, the most common answer is Facebook.
(END VOICE CLIP)
COATES: So, given that, I mean, is there any question that the misinformation is rampant on these platforms and are companies like Facebook, I mean, are they doing enough to stop it?
SWISHER: They are doing a lot, let's be clear. They're doing a lot and they are putting out good information about COVID and everything else, it's not true. The problem is the lies and the flood of information, misinformation and the people that play this system, which on lots of topics. It's on election lies, fraud, all kinds of things. I mean, there are so many different things that these companies have
to deal with. The problem is they allow unfettered speech on these platforms than they're allowed to but they cause damage and that's the problem.
And so, one of the things that's hard to do is when they say they give out information and they do. They absolutely do. It's sort of like putting a sandbag in front of the most toxic ocean and saying we're stopping the flow by putting truth out here and as you know, lies have a way especially if they're pernicious and massive and constant of getting into people's heads and you can see it again and again and again and it's not the only way.
Look, it's on cable news. It's on a lot of places but these sites have a way of addicting people and being amplified in a way that is unprecedented in human history. It's not like sending a letter to people. It's talking to all kinds of people constantly and reinforcing things and that's the problem.
COATES: And the reach is so extensive. And also, but Kara, there is also a real concern --
COATES: -- over the government getting involved in deciding frankly, --
COATES: -- what is acceptable information. As a general principle, we don't want the government dictating who can speak out and what they can say when they do. So, I mean, what's the way to address that and find that sort of happy medium?
SWISHER: Well, I think that's the problem. I mean, like we can't. There is a thing called the first amendment and the government cannot do this. But that said, Facebook and other sites can't do it just the way they threw Donald Trump off. They can do these things. They can police these things.
And there is other ways of getting at them in terms of, you know, not just calling it a speech issue, it's paying there's fair share of taxes and paying the cost these things, you know, entail. There's all kinds of ways that are regulating them and making sure there is more players so it's not one company impacting so many people.
There is all kinds of solutions that don't have to impinge on free speech. And so that's a difficult problem here. It's an incredibly difficult problem.
COATES: Well, where there is a will, there is a way. Thank you, Kara.
SWISHER: Maybe. I don't know.
COATES: Well, next, she was an anti vax influencer and now, she's vaccinated and she's spreading the word to get everybody else to do the same. She'll tell me what changed her mind when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZIENTS, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE: Unvaccinated Americans are not protected against serious illness, hospitalization and death and we're seeing it in the data.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: A pandemic of the unvaccinated. That's how the CDC director is describing the rise of COVID-19 cases all across the country. For the first time in months, all 50 states are seeing a rise in new cases. Death and hospitalizations are also up from last week but, you know, nearly all of these people are unvaccinated.
Joining me now, Heather Brooke Simpson. Now she used to be part of the anti-vaccine movement but is now encouraging people to get the COVID- 19 shot. Heather, welcome to the show. Glad to talk to you tonight. Thank you.
HEATHER BROOKE SIMPSON, FORMERLY ANTI-VACCINES, GOT THE COVID VACCINE: Thanks for having me.
COATES: Now, Heather, you used to be an anti-vaccine influencer. You were, as you say, pushing misinformation about all vaccines not just to one or two, but for hundreds of thousands of followers. But now here you are, you are getting your COVID vaccine shot, I'm looking at it right now. And now, you are actually encouraging everyone else to do the same.
COATES: So, I just got to ask, what changed your mind on this issue?
SIMPSON: You know, honestly, I -- this sounds ridiculous but I lived my life in fear of tetanus just knowing that it was everywhere, all around us and my daughter got this tiny little cat scratch a few months ago.
I mean, it was just not even worth going to the pediatrician over it but, you know, I'm a new mom, I took her in and they didn't want to do the tetanus shot. They said it's small, it's fine but they saw how worried I was about tetanus and they were like, you know, Heather, there is a solution to your fear. And that is the tetanus shot, modern day science. It was like -- it was a lightbulb moment.
COATES: It was that mind-blowing moment of thinking, here is what I can do, and it's funny, motherhood would be the emphasis. I understand why. I'm also a mother. But you know, we tend to think, frankly, of people that they are so entrenched in their opinions that their minds can never change but obviously, that's not the case and you show that. But I wonder, explain how you got wrapped up in the first place in the
anti-vaccine world that led to this epiphany but what led you first to all the of the misinformation?
SIMPSON: So back when my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, we started looking into vaccines and I believe it was on Facebook where I saw an ad for this nine-hour docuseries called The Truth About Vaccines. And we watched all of it. And afterwards, I was terrified. I basically thought if my daughter got a vaccine, she would die that night. I mean, that's how traumatized I was from watching that.
And then when I spoke out about vaccines and how I didn't like them, I didn't -- I was basically an anti-vaxxer, I got the courage to speak out on Facebook, I was welcomed into a huge world of anti-vaxxers that Facebook allows on their site.
COATES: And from there, I sense you get involved in this whole anti- vaccination movement. But you know, the White House, you mentioned Facebook, the White House is calling out what they are calling the disinformation dozen, Heather, which is about 12 people who, according for the Center for Countering Digital Hate, they produce 65 percent of all vaccine information, misinformation on social media and you actually used to follow seven of these 12 people.
And so, what was it about their posts? You mentioned the docuseries essentially, but what was it about their actual posting that you saw that really caught your attention and made you feel convinced that you were doing the right thing?
SIMPSON: I mean, these guys are so confident when they're posting things and they speak like they are such authorities on these issues that you don't know anything else to do but to follow them. I mean, in such a vulnerable state a lot of these people are as new parents, you're reading these and you're thinking like, some of these people are actually doctors that are spotting this misinformation.
I mean, what else are you going to do? You're going to think it's a doctor that's saying that. Of course, I'm going to follow that. And that's why it's so scary. And you don't just have the disinformation dozen. You have the disinformation bunch which you can find them on vaxopedia.org. It's a bunch of people that you wouldn't think of that are not in that dozen but they are spreading just as much information because every time they post something, it gets hundreds of shares. And it's -- there's an entire world on Facebook of this stuff.
COATES: And the more it's shared of course, the strength in numbers, the more credibility you're attaching to it. I wonder, Heather, I mean, what is your message to all the people out there who are choosing now to be unvaccinated? What would you have them know?
SIMPSON: If you are choosing to be unvaccinated, what you're probably saying is I don't want to take this risk of vaccine for a virus that only has a 99 percent -- or that has a 99 percent survival rate but if that one percent was your child or your grandparent or your spouse, that would probably feel different to you.
So, to be so dismissive and to say I don't need to wear a mask. I don't need to get vaccinated, on and on and on because it's not going to affect me, well, it does affect real life people. Real people with real lives and that -- I mean, you have the power to help stop this and to save lives and you're not doing it. It's entitled.
COATES: Heather, thank you for expressing your views and talking about the power that people actually have. We're really not thankfully helpless in this and the onus really is on all of us. So, thank you for what you're saying and what you do -- or doing to spread the word. I appreciate it.
SIMPSON: Yes, thank you.
COATES: Now, is there such a thing as real America? Paul Krugman answers that question, next.
COATES: The Biden administration making a major move this week that immediately increases the incomes of millions of American families. The expanded child tax credit puts cash directly in the pockets of moms and dads.
Now President Biden calling it a giant step toward ending child poverty in America. It's being dubbed social security for kids. But it's only for this year. The president and many Democrats want to make it permanent.
Joining me now is New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, author of "Arguing With Zombies." Paul, good to see you on this Friday evening.
You know, President Biden has been pretty focused on showing that government can work, that it does work, but you recently wrote, as well, that it's morning in Joe Biden's America. So, what will this credit actually do for Americans?
PAUL KRUGMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it's not actually all that much money but it's targeted on the people who really need the money. I mean, the -- we have a huge problem of child poverty in America, and the funny thing is it doesn't take a lot of money to drastically reduce that problem. And we have huge amounts of evidence from the past from things like the expansion of food stamps that giving families with children just a little bit of extra financial resources does incredibly good things.
It makes the -- the kids that receive that aid now will grow up to be healthier and more productive adults in the future. So, this is, this is a big social step, even though the amounts of money in, you know, properly if you view it in the proper perspective are not all that much. COATES: It is quite telling that this amount of money does make that
big of a difference and could end, I think, child poverty or cut it in half, I think to some reports. But some Republicans are calling this, well, socialism, which of course, begs the question since when are Republicans against lowering taxes?
KRUGMAN: Well, yes. I mean, it is true that a fair number of the people who are receiving this will not be paying taxes or they won't be paying income taxes any way and so this is showing up this is just a grant of money. But, you know, I, for decades now conservatives have told me, well, you know, I don't believe in equality of results, I just believe in equality of opportunity.
Let me tell you, kids who grow up in poverty do not have the same opportunity as kids who don't. And so this is actually a step in the direction of what conservatives have always claimed to believe in except now all of a sudden, helping children who are not -- four children are not poor through any fault of their own and just giving then enough resources so that they can make lives for themselves. If that's socialism, then basically anything good is socialism which I guess is kind of the point.
COATES: You know, that's I find anyone who says that statement has never been denied in opportunity. So, it's very a luxurious position to actually be in to have that statement be made.
But Paul, you know, you know the culture wars are still raging on.
COATES: And you took note of Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance tweeting out that he heard New York was disgusting and violent.
COATES: And let's point out by the way that violent crime rose by 3 percent across the country last year. I mean, homicides are up. Rising 25 percent between 2019 and 2020. This isn't just a New York problem we all realize. So, what is he trying to do, exactly?
KRUGMAN: He's just trying to get people riled up and trying to -- it's signaling to their Republican base. You know, he's trying to appeal to primary voters, most of whom have no idea. I mean, people -- people who are actually in New York, which I happen not to be at the moment but am mostly in New York know that it is not -- it is not a socialist hell hole. There are not gangs of looters roaming the streets. That actually things look pretty good.
But it's a story that they can tell and it's a way to -- I mean, it's more -- I'm not sure if he -- I'm sure that he knows better and I suspect even a lot of his voters know better but they're -- it's signaling by talking about the evils of the big city, and you know, evils of the big city with a large implicit notion that it has to do with people's skin color as maybe the same as your own.
That's a way of signifying which side you're on in the culture wars. But no, this is crazy. This is crazy. I mean, we have a lot of problems with this country. We have a lot of problems with New York but a lot of the problems are much worse out there in small town America.
COATES: I mean, it's quite a way to signal something. I think you're right about that. And you also talk about cynical politicians who this is a trend for. I mean, disparaging certain parts of the country, it's just that they aren't part of what they call this real America. And you say that cynicism has effectively killed thousands in the pandemic and could actually end up killing democracy. Tell me more about your thoughts on that.
KRUGMAN: Well, you know, what we really need to understand is that the modern Republican Party, it is not a normal political party. It is at this point really a cult of personality, it's an authoritarian movement. They really don't believe that anybody else has the right to win elections, that anybody else has the right to hold power.
There were -- they're rapidly turning the people who tried to overturn a legitimate election on January 6th into martyrs, into heroes of the lost cause so this is really scary stuff and it all hinges on the notion that there's a real America somewhere out there and that excludes places like New York and just actually imagine, imagine doing that in reverse.
Imagine if a Democratic politician said, you know, all those people living in Appalachia and eastern Kentucky they are not real Americans. And there are -- that's all terrible, it's violent and it's disgusting. Yes, that would somewhat decrucify if they did that from the left and of course, Democratic politicians don't. They try to say hey, we're all Americans but somehow, it's considered acceptable to trash parts of the country where a large fraction of the American population lives.
COATES: Imagine that. Paul Krugman, thank you.
KRUGMAN: Thank you.
COATES: Now, look at this. Multiple police officers, a taser, one man and if you assume this use of force is warranted, would you be surprised to hear it began over $2.75? I make my case next.
COATES: Now, if you didn't know what this story was about, you'd assume this was a wanted suspect being arrested for perpetrating a violent crime against someone, but instead, we find out that this is a man accused of helping another passenger avoid paying subway fare.
Now, so far, our reporting shows the man swore at the police and appeared to be resisting arrest. But even so, and even if he had committed the crime and yes, fare evasion is considered a crime in New York, does it really warrant this type of police response? This number of officers? This level of force? This application of force for a non- violent crime that posed no threat to the public's safety?
I mean, he's now been charged with multiple crimes and his attorney tonight telling CNN the charges are quote, "absolutely absurd." And a classic example of the NYPD using excessive force on black people.
Now, riding the subway costs $2.75. And I understand that a system that derives most of its revenue from everyday workers can't tolerate free riders. Everyone has got to pay their fair share.
But keep in mind that Allen Weisselberg, the now former CFO of the Trump Organization stands accused of failing to pay not $2.75 but more than $900,000 in unpaid taxes and undeserved tax refunds. Now our tax system also can't tolerate free riders, yet, he was allowed to turn himself in and walked out of the courthouse of his own accord. No onslaught of officers, certainly no taser. Just the presumption of innocence, a guarantee of due process, an opportunity to be heard and spoken to like a human being or at least, treated like one. But I guess, that's just me giving my $2.75.
Up next, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus arrested more than 50 Texas Democrats flee the state all fighting for voting rights. Martin Luther King III weighs in on that fight after this.
COATES: Vice President Kamala Harris meeting at the White House this afternoon with a group of black women who are leaders in the fight for voting rights. Harris saying it's an important issue affecting all Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is -- let's be clear, not about any one racial group or gender group. This is about all Americans. This is not an issue about Democrats versus Republicans. This is about Americans. And this group of national leaders are very clear about that. This is a fight for all people regardless of who they voted for in the last election or who they vote for in the next election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Let's talk about that fight for voting rights with Martin Luther King III. Sir, I'm happy to have you on this evening. I'm sorry that we keep having to have these conversations about the fight for voting rights, but you're the right person to have here tonight. Thank you.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, MARTIN LUTHER KING'S SON: Thank you.
COATES: Now, Martin, are you confident that the White House is really understanding the sense of urgency that folks are facing with voting rights in this country and also, do you think they're fighting back with everything they have?
KING III: That's a very good question. My response is I don't know that they are fighting with every tool. It is my hope, it is certainly been what I have challenged. In fact, we are launching tomorrow a campaign called for John, which is to raise dollars, literally small dollar figures from hundreds of thousands of individuals to support grass roots campaigns, also, -- I mean grass roots organizations that are actually registering, meeting voters on the ground.
That's, you know, helping them mobilize because people need to be calling senators every day. We are in a ditch, and we are trying to dig our way out, which is very sad. We live in a democracy we all know. We talk about democracy around the world but we suppress democracy at home and that is a very sad contradiction.
COATES: And of course, you said for John. We know tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary since Congressman John Lewis passed away. I just want to play for a second some of the former President Obama's eulogy for Congressman Lewis. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Remember what John said, if you don't do everything, you can do to change things. Then they will remain the same. You only pass this way once. You have to give it all you have. As long as young people are protesting in the streets, hoping real change takes hold, I'm hopeful but we can't casually abandon them at the ballot box. Not when few elections have been as urgent on so many levels as this one.
We can't treat voting as an errand to run like we have some time. We have to treat it as the most important action we can to take on behalf of democracy and like John, we have to give it all we have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: And what was almost a year ago, and he was pressing lawmakers then to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and in that year, not only did it not pass, but as you know, Republicans across the country have moved quickly to enact even more restrictive voting measures. So, what is it going to take to protect against these bills?
KING III: So, you know, I think one of the great suggestions was the suggestion that Congressman Clyburn came up with, which is if we can pass budget issues by not having to utilize the filibuster, why then can we not pass the most fundamental right which is the right to vote in the same way?
Legally, I don't know what that looks like but I know that it's certainly up for suggestion. But in the interim, one of the things we are doing, August 28 is the anniversary of the march on Washington. And we are doing, we have joined with a number of organizations, the National Action Network, march on, teachers coalition, SEIU to do another march. And we are doing marches in five cities around this country. Atlanta,
Miami, Phoenix, Houston, and Washington, D.C. and there are sister cities that are coming on. People are going to be in the streets mobilizing. And the other goal is to register two million people by the midterm elections. These are things that may potentially create a change in our nation.
COATES: And like you just noted, I mean, it's been nearly 60 years since your father's march on Washington. So, what does it say to you that you're launching this initiative now? What does it say about the state of our democracy and also civil rights in general?
KING III: Well, what it says is what my mother used to say, is that every generation has to reacquire its freedom. Freedom is not just given permanently. It is a sad commentary. Hopefully we will get to the day where freedom can be sustained eternally.
But at this particular moment, as mom said, every generation has to re-earn its freedom. And that's what, when we look at democracy and what is -- it's crumbling in the United States of America. When we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.
You can't shame someone into doing right. But you can get enough people to mobilize so that ultimately, they're going to have to pay attention. They're not paying attention right now. They're only looking at, well, this is going to protect my interests and what I'm doing and where I stand. But at the end of the day, hopefully all of that is going to backfire. But that's a hope.
COATES: Well, we hope that the ideas and principles of democracy will someday be impenetrable. Thank you for your time. Thank you, Mr. King, Martin. Nice to talk to you.
KING III: Always nice to talk to you. Thank you.
COATES: Thank you. We'll be right back.
COATES: The brazen assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise has triggered a surge of violence in a country that's already facing a long list of challenges including an epidemic of gangs and crippling poverty.
Amidst this national crisis, Haitian CNN Heroes are stepping up to keep the most vulnerable, children and women, safe. Boby Duvall and Malya Villard-Appolon hope this moment points Haiti toward a better future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBY DUVAL, 2007 CNN HERO: People are in a state of shock. I'm particularly very much shocked. No matter how much you can criticize the former president, there is nothing that requires such a barbaric action of violently taking his life.
MALYA VILLARD-APPOLON, 2012 TOP 10 CNN HERO (on screen text): When we look at this drama, where a president was assassinated and we say that now we no longer have a country, what about the rest of the people that live in the slum? What are they supposed to do? The women are being kidnapped. They are being raped.
When these catastrophes, these circumstances are taking place these young girls and women are the ones that would be the most vulnerable.
DUVAL: I would love to think that it could be a turning point where people are conscientize about how the system works and the reason behind such a horrible act.
VILLARD-APPOLON (on screen text): The world could have helped us to put an end to this gang problem. Please send forces to disarm the gangsters inside the country holding the population hostages, which does not allow the population to live; the women cannot live.
DUVAL: This kind of behavior is not enough to change my vision to contribute to a positive development of this nation. It reinforces the reasons of what I'm doing. I do everything I can to have the most impact towards the people who need it most.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: To learn more about how these and other CNN heroes are working to help the Haitian people, go to cnnheroes.com. You're there you can nominate someone you know to be a CNN hero.
Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.