118 Comments

Thank you for your words of wisdom! Whenever I feel overcome by all the negativity in the news, I turn off the TV for awhile and take a walk in my woods, feed the wonderful birds, pet the cat and play with the dog, or complete some tasks on my wife's never ending "Honey Do" list. These simple things restore my soul and strengthen me for the political battles ahead.

Expand full comment
author

All of us need restorative times, rituals, relationships, ways of regaining our balance. Thanks, Tim.

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

You always buoy my spirits and state things with such clarity. Glad to be in this fight with all of you and may 2022 be the year we save our country from fascism!

Expand full comment
author

I'm with you, Nancy!

Expand full comment

That we are saying this seems surreal. Three Ret Generals are warning of Civil War if election results aren’t accepted by segments of Trump-following military personnel. I’m very concerned about the snail pace & apparent fear of getting Trump and all top followers in prison ASAP. We are letting them exchange info and plan every day they are free! They are extremely dangerous criminals. Something must be done with this ASAP.

Expand full comment
author

Some are dangerous criminals. Some are simply deluded. A few believe they are patriots although their actions are the most unpatriotic imaginable. I believe Trump himself is seriously demented. America has had its share of sociopaths; some have even run for public office. But never before 2016 has one become President.

Expand full comment
Dec 25, 2021Liked by Robert Reich

I really needed to hear that. I'm going to gear up for a strong 2022 and put my efforts into strengthening our hand in the senate and the house. Let's go kick ass again!

Expand full comment
author

Good!

Expand full comment

The term used in our Constitution and today was The Common Good. A neon sign for congress with those words would be a nice reminder. 😄 Happy Holidays to everyone.

Expand full comment
author

No reason you should remember or even know, but a few years ago I wrote a book called "The Common Good." I sent one to every member of Congress at the time. Didn't seem to have much effect, I'm afraid.

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

Thank you, Robert Reich, for educating people and supporting the common good.

Expand full comment

Then along came Bernie Sanders, and there are more people today who support progressive candidates with small donations, because the word is out that the ones who are bought do not have the common good in mind. The will betray their constituents, the real people, not the corporate 'persons'. He has mentored a few good people, and they are in office and running for office. They deserve a close look.

Expand full comment

That’s interesting! Hopefully, those who read it have the seed of thought that may get triggered due to that. It’s a great phrase.

We have some super representation from our progressive caucus. We need to get the population to understand that we can afford to support better lives for everyone in this country. Countering the war of lies is a tough one.

Expand full comment
founding

Thank you so much for mentioning the progressive caucus, SeekingReason. Jamaal Bowman, Ilhan Omar, AOC, and the rest are real treasures. Thank goodness for them.

Expand full comment

Agree! And Bernie is out supporting union organizers, we’re really lucky to have the progressives who take disproportionate heat for demanding justice for workers and all other citizens.

Expand full comment
founding

Yes! Bernie is a national treasure. I wish he could clone himself about 50,000 times.

Expand full comment

LOVE Bernie. I also feel that Robert is a national treasure and I am so thankful he is "raising" our next generation of young people do do what is RIGHT!

Expand full comment

Money trumps! We need a way to learn about candidates that is not dependent on the money trap.

Expand full comment

There is an organization called Project Vote Smart (justfacts.votesmart.org) that provides information on candidates, such as their positions on issues and major sources of funding. Also, there is an organization called Govtrak (govtrak.us) that will, if you sign up, send you a weekly email listing all floor action taken the prior week in the U.S. House of Representatives, and how your representative voted on the legislation.

Expand full comment

Carolyn Herz, thanks for the info!

Expand full comment

And we need to get the monopoly of media airwaves out from control by the right. It’s our biggest danger.

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021·edited Dec 24, 2021

I sent a copy of “The Road Less Traveled”, by Scott Peck many years ago to every member of Congress. A self help book. One member sent it back saying as members of Congress we can’t accept gifts. A mere book. Unfortunately not 3 trillion dollars. Ironic how things have changed. Of course his real motivation was being offended. Wish our policies were less reactive especially when the hand writing is on the wall and we know what’s coming. Arresting criminals and getting control of our democracy and making it safe should be a given. Risk taking does not apply to the obvious in my opinion. Merry Christmas Robert and Happy Holidays. P.S. Isn’t it ironic we both sent personal development books and nothing has changed for the better over decades. Maybe time to try a different approach. Pacifism never works when under attack

Expand full comment

Also, "a more perfect union", or a more moral country. As "Politics without Principle" is one of the seven deadly Social sins.

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

Thank you, I needed this and today was the perfect day to deliver your message of hope.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks, Mark.

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

Onward and upward! We don't want to give up!

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

👍

Expand full comment

Thank you so much, Professor Reich, for all that you do. Your Substack is one of the best and most encouraging things I've encountered in 2021. Your latest note this morning really buoyed me, at a difficult time.

I just paid $50 for a paid subscription, for all the right reasons. Work like your Substack needs to be supported. I don't want to distract you or others here by talking about my own projects, but one that I'm working on as a small book publisher is directly relevant - a memoir by Nelson Mandela's former prison guard who became his lifelong friend, Christo Brand. South Africa's story has so very much to teach all of us Americans in this hard time. This passage from your note ...

"It’s not only the famous leaders who are agents of change. Movements are fueled by individuals giving their time, energy, and hope. Small actions and victories lead to bigger ones, and the improbable becomes possible."

… directly echoes this from Ian Middleton, a teacher and rugby coach from Ottawa who has led groups of his students to South Africa. This is part of a section of fresh writings by others who knew Christo and Mandela that we're adding to the book's new edition, and a portion of this quote will grace the back cover:

"Too often the study of history focuses on the stories of the great figures alone and fails to look at the equally important role played by common individuals in shaping history. There has always been a mass of people who blindly follow the party holding power or act with indifference to preserve their own safety when evil occurs, and a very small number of people who courageously follow their values, fight for the rights of the oppressed, and change the world for the better. This is where the power and importance of Christo’s story comes in. His story provides a very personal touch to South Africa and Nelson Mandela. Sure, it is about Mandela and being a witness to some of the most important events in South Africa’s history. But it is truly Christo’s story, one that shows how a young man working for the apartheid state was not afraid to break the rules, show humanity, and do the right thing to make the lives of his prisoners more bearable while standing up against the system. It provides a lesson of the importance of the ordinary individual in actively challenging the system, doing the honourable thing, and influencing necessary change.

"It also provides the valuable lesson that two men of different generations, races, backgrounds, and authority could put their differences aside, respect each other, and ultimately form a lifelong friendship, while shifting the balance of history. The authenticity of Christo’s message, focusing on his personal relationship with Mandela, gives the listener an intimate understanding of both Christo and Mandela and how the two men formed a lifelong bond. This is what really resonated with my students and colleagues."

Expand full comment
founding

The book sounds wonderful, Ethan. Please let us know when it’s available.

Expand full comment

I sure will, Paula. Thank you. We're planning on bringing the book out in February. You can read about it on the www.blueearbooks.com website, and it should be available for pre-order hopefully early in January. We're planning a Zoom event for Christo on a Sunday afternoon in February (exact date TBD, Sunday afternoon to account for the time difference), via the wonderful Princeton Public Library (www.princetonlibrary.org).

Expand full comment
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

You are a beacon of light and reason! Thank you!

Expand full comment
founding
Dec 24, 2021Liked by Heather Lofthouse

Thanks for the uplift. It's not like we're adrift but more like we are in a relentless tug-of-war with evil. I shall continue to fight back, but first a healing rest with my family and friends.

Expand full comment

I can offer a few coping skills to deal with our current political, economic, and environmental problems. Keep up the good fight. Don't give up. Learn all you can about the issues we face so you can have substantive arguments to teach your Republican friends, family, and colleagues what you know to be true. Also remember that many Republicans still believe the Big Lie. Their "knowledge" must be dismantled slowly. As a nation we progress and regress, progress and regress, with movements, until we finally make strides toward our goals for the common good. It is easy to be cynical or complacent, but we cannot let our guards down at this crucial juncture. Indeed, we are at Biden's inflection point, and we must do what we can now, because we haven't much time. We can support each other on this site, and inundate social media with facts. We can speak to our neighbors and friends and family with kindness about how we feel about Republican actions and opinions. Things might get extremely difficult, but we shouldn't give up. Too much is at stake.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you, Jane.

Expand full comment

Take up our cross, & do the will of God, which is to take action toward a more loving, egalitarian community, in which all of God's children can better flourish.

Expand full comment

A beautiful and timely message…and a perfect setup for one of my favorite videos of Chris Hedges https://youtu.be/KP8YcfdHIN4

Expand full comment

Thanks for sharing. Chris Hedges & Bishop William Barber are the prophets of our time.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Mr Reich. Just hoping that what has been stripped away by the pandemic will make it clear that we need one another more than ever.

Expand full comment

Thank-you! I needed that! I asked you what keeps you going in the good fight, and you answered me. I wish you Happy Holidays and a very happy new year, Robert Reich.

Expand full comment
author

You, too, Sally.

Expand full comment

Thank you for your inspiration. I needed your uplifting message today after reading that our state attorney general, who reportedly has ambitions to be governor, said in an interview that he doesn't believe the abysmal Covid-19 statistics posted by our state department of health, doesn't believe that our hospitals are overrun with unvaccinated Covid-19 patients (accusing hospitals of lying and committing fraud), and believes that the shortage of healthcare workers (which existed before vaccines became available) is due to vaccine mandates. He has wasted our taxpayer money on lawsuits against every one of President Biden's vaccine mandates, and now, for good measure, against his mask mandate for Head Start programs. I will probably volunteer for the campaign of his opponent in his next election, in 2024, but he has an excellent chance of winning. This is the reality on the ground in so many states.

For me, a way to fight despair is 1) to appreciate that there are great people, in government and out, including you and commenters in this forum, who want to move the country forward; and 2) don't wallow in the bad news, but keep thinking of things that even we ordinary citizens can do to make the country better. I have a theory that even commenting in forums such as this, or in response to articles published online by news outlets, can potentially have a positive effect. I hope that perhaps someone with more power than I have to take action will see my comment and say, "Yes, that's a good idea. I'll try it."

Expand full comment

Thank you for your letters and videos! Here’s to having hope in 2022 that Democracy and Truth will win this current battle over autocracy and misinformation/lies/propaganda.

Expand full comment
author

A toast to democracy and truth.

Expand full comment

My mother and grandmother were not able to apply for and get a credit card in their own name. That was notwithstanding that they worked OUTSIDE and inside the home. That battle for “equal credit opportunity” was only won in the 1970’s, state by state. As you indicate, we cannot give up. There’s a lot of opportunity for victory! In Ohio, senior citizen African Americans stood in line for 8 hours in 2004 undeterred, to ensure they voted. I’m a witness, and they voted a Democrat majority into our county; that was my election victory. I vowed to get more voting machines (paper trail verified), and we did.

Be that burr under the proverbial saddle! It’s rewarding. Thank you Robert.

Expand full comment