Former U.S. senator Bill Nelson talks political division with Pulitzer Prize winner

By  | 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – As lawmakers find themselves embroiled in political division amid impeachment trials, an author and a former U.S. senator offered their two cents on the subject.

Former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and author Jon Meacham discussed the topic of political division during a public forum at the University of Florida Thursday morning.

At least 100 people gathered at UF’s Smather’s Library to hear Meacham as he reflected on his written works. Nelson often referenced Meacham’s latest book, “The Soul of America” saying compromise is the oxygen of democracy.

Both Meacham and Nelson stressed the importance of compromise among lawmakers and among the American people, especially as Congress undergoes the stages of the impeachment process.

“We have good friends who can’t talk to each other anymore because they’re so politically divided,” Nelson said.

Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize winning author for his 2009 biography of Andrew Jackson and a former executive editor at Random House. As the presidential biographer for George H.W Bush, Meacham and Nelson discussed President Trump’s strong demographics and how history may remember him.

“In this moment, it’s not about him [President Trump], it’s about us,” Meacham said during the forum. “Politicians are a mirror of who we are, and as uncomfortable as this is for some people, this presidency reflects the reality for a number of people.”

Meacham, who said he’s neither a republican or a democrat, but believe it’s a matter of how the American people want to be remembered in history.

“First of all hope is not lost, we’ve seen American history go through periods of considerable strain, and somehow have somehow righted itself. We as citizens have a responsibility and that is to demand of our governmental leaders to stop being such sticks in the mud and reach to the other side,” Nelson said.

This is the second public forum of the Nelson Initiative on Ethics and Leadership. Another public forum with Bob Graham is slated within the next couple of months.

Nelson Initiative on Ethics and Leadership - University of Florida Advancement

Supports the Bill Nelson Initiative on Ethics and Leadership.