Major Garrett: "What gives me optimism is the longevity of our country"

Vanity Fair's Eric Lutz interviewed Major Garrett and David Becker about their book "The Big Truth"

Eric asked, "I want to begin on a high note. You write in the book that you harbor “deep, but not debilitating fears” about the future of American democracy. What gives you cause for optimism? Why aren’t the concerns debilitating, since so much of what you describe here is pretty frightening?"

Major Garrett: "What gives me optimism is the longevity of our country. We have stared into abysses before and pulled back from them. I know that’s an overused metaphor right now, and I know there have been barrels upon barrels of either ink or the digital equivalent spilled asking when America will pull back from the current abyss. So the question persists. Why are you optimistic? Well, 100,000 people in 2020 signed up to be poll workers for the first time, jumping into a breach of a situation that was not familiar to them. Not because they were going to get paid, not because they were going to be lionized in their community. Not because they were going to get a promotion. But because it mattered at a very basic civic level of accountability and participation. And I’m gonna bank our country’s future on their optimism."

Eric asked "How do you cut through the noise? You know, we’re talking about a media environment that’s very different than it was in 2000 and in 1960 and 1876. We’re talking about willful disinformation, certainly coming from one side. How do you get through to folks about the fact that the 2020 election was very strong, especially when we’re talking about folks who have constructed a political identity around this idea that the election was stolen, or profit from it in some way? How do you reach those people?"

 Major Garrett:  "The simple and self-serving answer is: You write a book. And then let me just stick with that for a second. Another source of my optimism is that this question, journalistically, is now a live one in newsrooms, in many organizations. Democracy desks are real."


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