Question: What is your counsel?
Jim Lehrer: Well there’s only one answer, and that is you have to get involved.
You have to get involved. And there are all kinds of ways you get involved.
If you take anybody in American; that there’s a day, and then there’s a week, then it’ll never happen. But every American must – in my opinion – feel, “Okay, we are now going to elect a new President. We are now going to deal with how we’re going to exercise our military power.” We this, we this, we that, we, we, we, we, we!
There’s all kinds of studies. Sociologists talk all the time about; we’re an “I” society. I did this. It’s only me, me, me, me and me. And there is no we, we, we.
I think, to touch on something I’ve said before, I think there’s a big “we” in all of us. It has to be utilized. It’s a goldmine waiting out there for us to be mined and used.
And part of the process, of course, is to be informed and to work at it. Find out what the issues really are. It’s all there. If somebody says to me, “Oh well, I don’t even know what’s going on about it. I mean nobody ever; the media doesn’t . . .”
And I said, “What is it the media hasn’t told you?”
“Well they haven’t told me about it.” And he tells me everything about this particular story.
And I say, “Well if the media didn’t tell you, how did you find out about it?”
“Oh well, actually I, uh, heard about it on NPR.”
So I say, “Oh! I guess the media did tell you.”
But at any rate, my point is that the thing that leads to activism in anything – whether it’s political activism or any kind of activism – is knowledge, is information. If somebody says to you; you live in a neighborhood and somebody comes knocks on your door and says, “We’re going to build a 7Eleven store right next to your house,” and you’ve never been active about anything in your life, suddenly you’re an activist. You don’t want to keep that 7Eleven store next to your house.
But you can keep moving that back and back. You go to the state capital and the state government. They want to pave all the pastures north of Goodland, Kansas or something like that.
“Oh my gosh! Hey! I’m an activist.”
But the information--you have to find out things first. You have to care enough. And somebody has to tell you about it. And out of that knowledge/information comes concern, and comes action, and comes resolution and togetherness.
Recorded: July 4, 2007.