Jon Meacham Turns to History for ‘Unusually Important’ Election Year


WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez sat down with historian Jon Meacham to discuss the importance of history in our ever-changing world and how we can use important takeaways from our past to dictate how we proceed with our future.

Meacham’s newest podcast from RADIO.COM's Cadence13, “It Was Said,” takes a deep dive into historical speeches from various leaders who have shaped our country. In a conversation about the importance of history, Meacham opened up the conversation by talking about the racial inequities that strain our nation.

“Race is a perennial issue,” he began. He then went on to say that the reality of structural racism, inequality, and partisanship has found its way into almost everything we do.

“It shapes the presidential campaign, it shapes our daily lives, it’s shaping the culture – in sports and elsewhere,” he said. But he stresses that it’s not necessarily new that these issues are coming to the surface of daily conversations.

“People have been struggling with these issues – sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully – and what can we learn from that?” he explains. The podcast aims to glean the primary learning points of these historical speeches to address issues that are still relevant today.

That said, there are always two sides to every story. “History is not a fairy tale – it’s not always good versus evil, light versus dark,” Meacham said. Whether listeners are history buffs or not, anyone can take something away from “It Was Said.”

“Anyone who’s interested in the public life of the country can learn a lot here,” Meacham said of his most recent podcast, and it's particularly important as we head into November’s presidential election.

Meacham, who spoke the same night as Joe Biden during night 4 of the Democratic National Convention, said that it was unusual for him to endorse a candidate. “I believe this is an existential election and unusually important,” he explained.

“We’re so structurally partisan now,” he continued.

For more from Meacham, listen to “It Was Said” on the RADIO.COM app, and tune in as each of the 10 episodes are released. “If you’re going to come along for the ride, come along for all 10 stops,” Meacham concluded.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram