Historian says US is ‘in a moral crisis right now’

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said Sunday that the United States is in a “moral crisis” amid political divisions in the country.

“But the overall sense is, sometimes we’ve become too much spectators watching what’s happening to ourselves. And that one of the things Dante said is that ‘The lowest place in Hell are for those people in a moral crisis who remain neutral or remain silent,’” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We are in a moral crisis right now, and I always feel so positive about what history can teach us, because we’ve lived through really hard times before. And these are hard times, however, and it won’t get better unless we act, unless we take seriously our citizen responsibilities and use the qualities of character that we need to bring into politics,” she added.

Goodwin has written numerous biographies about former presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. She has been on a media tour to promote her new book, “An Unfinished Love Story,” which details her and her husband’s personal history with the 1960s.

Welker noted that Goodwin has compared the current state of politics to the expansion of slavery and the Civil War during the 1850s. Goodwin explained that there are two parallels she sees right now when compared to the Civil War era, including the division of the media and worries that there would not be a peaceful transition of power.

She said she is worried that a peaceful transition of power won’t happen after the next presidential election.

“I am concerned that it may not happen, but I somehow think if the majority of the people come out who have different values from that and they vote, voting is absolutely essential,” she said.

“And I just hope they feel that this election could turn on them, and the uncommitted people and the undecided people have to come out and vote, and we have to just take the results of the election. That doesn’t mean we know how it’s going to happen, but if the overwhelming majority vote, then somehow maybe it won’t be as close as we think it is going to be. And then we’ll have a clear-cut choice,” she added later.

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