Unity Talks: A Summer Series – Episode 5 – Jon Meacham and Keel Hunt

Author and journalist Keel Hunt joined co-chair Jon Meacham recently to discuss Hunt’s recent book, Crossing the Aisle: How Bipartisanship Brought Tennessee into the 21st Century and Could Save America. As he describes in his book, throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, pragmatic politicians were able to power policymaking in issues ranging from public school funding and infrastructure development to health care reform. 

In addition to discussing the legacy of figures like Lamar Alexander, Ned McWherter, Howard Baker and Al Gore Jr. and reminiscing about past political campaigns, Meacham and Hunt delve into the reasons Tennessee took on its recent bright “red” hue. Perhaps more relevant for today’s political squabbles, they reflected on the need for reflective partisanship (a model that encourages individuals to reflect on the opinions of the opposing side, allowing for a more nuanced view before blindly adopting a position based solely on party affiliation) as we approach the 2022 midterms.  

Hopefully, this look back at our recent history can inspire Tennesseans and our friends across the country to chart a new path forward.