The second of the League’s two book talks was held on April 8, 2019, at the Port Washington State Bank’s Community Room. The book chosen for this study was The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham. The discussion was led by Chris Rahlf and Nancy Haacke. Author Meacham looks back on the leadership of our country, and additional forces, positive and negative that prevailed during our democratic history.
Remembering the good and the bad of history allowed us as a group to better understand how democracy has survived with both. The author showed that through the years some of the presidents showed strength and weakness and that immigration has been a contentious issue, the Ku Klux Klan has weakened and seen resurgence, and individuals have truly been angels and demons.
Chris quizzed the audience on individual quotes that were surprising yet important to know. The high achiever on the quiz won a bottle of “Soul” wine! Meacham’s quote explained his explanation of the American soul: “The controlling vision is a belief in the proposition, as Jefferson put in the Declaration, that all men are created equal. It is therefore incumbent on us, from generation to generation, to create a sphere in which we can live, live freely, and pursue happiness to the best of our abilities. We cannot guarantee equal outcomes, but we must do all we can to ensure equal opportunity.”