Two movements once at the vital center of our society, liberal politics and American Christianity have gone astray, says Eric Alterman (from the left) and Ross Douthat (from the right). On this weekend’s Moyers & Company (check local listings) each meets separately with Bill to discuss the implications of this wayward course on American Democracy.
First, Eric Alterman describes the grand aspirations, ambitions, and historical ironies that prompted him to write his new book The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. He calls on liberals to regain “the fighting spirit” that characterized Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and to put it in service of new liberal policies for the 2lst century. Liberals, he tells Moyers, have overpromised and underperformed, and it’s time once again to make government credible.
Ross Douthat, the conservative op-ed columnist for The New York Times and author of Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, is just as candid about how traditional and institutional Christianity has declined from a vigorous, mainstream, and bipartisan force to a polarizing, heretical combatant in the culture war. He argues that a revival of true and basic Christian principles can lead to American renewal.
Also, can you imagine Super Grover followed by a super PAC ad? No? Neither can Bill Moyers. In a new essay at the top of the show, Moyers talks about the recent federal appeals court decision to allow political and issue advertising on public TV and radio channels. “Just say no,” Moyers urges station managers across the country — but they need your help.