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Live On WFPL On Sunday: A Call-In Special On Our Democracy

It's been quite a year, and 2020 is shaping up to be another interesting one. Coming off of a week of impeachment hearings and just before many Americans will gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving, let's talk about the state of our country's democracy.

On Sunday, November 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 89.3 WFPL will air "America Are We Ready?," a live three-hour call-in special. Here are the topics and scheduled guests, from WNYC:

Hour One: Impeaching 

The impeachment process now underway flows from the founders’ decision to have a strong presidency. Impeachment was included as a check and balance if all else fails to prevent a president from acting like a monarch. We will examine the presidency itself and its place in American democracy in the context of the impeachment and election campaigns now simultaneously under way.

Guests include: 

  • Mary Frances Berry, professor of constitutional, legal and African American history at the University of Pennsylvania, former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and the author of twelve books including, History Teaches Us to Resist: How Progressive Movements Have Succeeded in Challenging Times
  • Jeffrey Engel, founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a co-author of Impeachment: An American History, and author of When the World Seemed New: George H. W. Bush and the End of the Cold War
  • Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post columnist and host of CNN’s GPS

Hour Two: Including

One of the biggest drivers of our politics today is that so many different groups of Americans feel left out of the decisions made by the people in power. It’s a reason for the popularity of Donald Trump on one end, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on another, and more. And it reflects a fundamental tension that goes back to the founding of the country - a tug of war between majority rule as one tenet of democracy, and protection from the tyranny of the majority as another.  We’ll examine the roots of today’s epidemic of feeling left out and how democracy can best be responsive to cure it.

Guests include: 

  • Kai Wright, host of WNYC's The Stakes, a podcast about social change, columnist for The Nation, former host of Indivisible, a live national call-in show that WNYC convened during the Trump administration’s first 100 days
  • Charlie Sykes, Wisconsin-based editor-at-large of The Bulwark and host of the Bulwark podcast, author of several books, including How the Right Lost Its Mind and A Nation of Victims, a former host of Indivisible, a live national call-in show that WNYC convened during the Trump administration’s first 100 days; and former conservative radio host
  • Sarah Smarsh, Kansas-based journalist and the author of Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, a National Book Award finalist.

Hour Three: Electing

Electoral democracy is the indispensable expression of government by the people. But the 2016 election exposed controversies and flaws that left many people believing that the system was substantially rigged — by election design elements from superdelegates to voter suppression laws to campaign finance to the electoral college — not to mention fake social media stories and foreign interference. How much has changed for 2020 and how can electoral democracy be as democratic as possible?

Guests include:

  • Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State
  • George Will, columnist on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for The Washington Post and the author of The Conservative Sensibility
  • Carol Anderson, professor of African American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta and the author of One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy

Join us on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for this important conversation. Listen live on 89.3 FM, or stream here.