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Arlen Specter’s America: A Self-Correcting System of Checks and Balances

Big Think was saddened by the news that one of our experts, former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, passed away on Sunday from complications of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Big Think had the opportunity to interview Senator Specter (1930-2012) at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2007. 

Specter was a political moderate who was first elected to the Senate as a Republican during the Reagan wave election of 1980. Specter was known as a voice of reason in the Senate and his political endorsements reflected that. He was the rare politician who received high marks from both the AFL-CIO as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (100% in 2006), the National Association of Manufacturers (86% in 2006), and the Americans for Tax Reform (90% in 2006). Specter switched parties in 2009, becoming a Democrat. 

During our interview, we asked Specter about his worldview, and his deep belief in the American system to solve problems.

According to Specter, Americans are a decent people, who have also made mistakes. While there have been many “distasteful chapters in our history” such as slavery and internment camps for Japanese citizens during World War II, Specter told Big Think that the American system of government, with its checks and balances, can “correct the injustices of the past.”

Watch the video here, from 2007:

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan


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