MSNBC
MSNBC 24 May 2020

A Memorial Day Weekend Discussion On The Soul Of America

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The Morning Joe panel continues its discussion of Sunday's New York Times front page, which lists a small portion of the U.S. deaths from the coronavirus and Jon Meacham reflects on the soul of the country during trying times.


President Trump Participates in a Roundtable with Governors on the Reopening of America's Small Businesses.

The White House
President Trump Delivers Remarks on the Rebuilding of America's Infrastructure: Faster, Better, Stronger

Atlanta, GA
President Trump Delivers Remarks on the Rebuilding of America's Infrastructure: Faster, Better, Stronger

Atlanta, GA
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the crisis of racial profiling and police brutality. Witnesses include Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd.

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"THE NEW YORK TIMES" SHOWED US
THIS MORNING.
I HOPE WE’LL THINK WHAT COUNTRY
DO WE BUILD NOW?
>> AND THE STORIES REALLY BRING
THAT MESSAGE HOME.
STERLING E. MATTHEWS WAS 60 FROM
MIDLOTHIAN, VIRGINIA, A CANCER
SURVIVOR WHO SERVED AS A DEACON.
ANOTHER WAS 38 YEARS OLD FROM
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA.
SERVED FOR THE PALM BEACH COUNTY
SHERIFF’S OFFICE FOR 14 YEARS.
AND KIRA SCHWARZ WAS 33 FROM NEW
YORK WHO VOLUNTEERED FOR PET
RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS ALL THE
TIME.
>> A 33-YEAR-OLD NEW YORKER WHO
HELPED WITH PET RESCUE, A
38-YEAR-OLD FLORIDA SHERIFF, THE
STORIES CONTINUE AND, AGAIN, THE
LOSS IS STAGGERING.
JONATHAN, WHAT IS THE WHITE
HOUSE REACTION TO WHERE WE FIND
OURSELVES NOW?
THE PRESIDENT, THOUGH HE
CRITICIZED BARACK OBAMA, WAS, OF
COURSE, FOR GOLFING, HAS GOLFED
SO MUCH MORE THAN BARACK OBAMA
THIS FAR IN AND DID IT AGAIN
YESTERDAY IN THE MIDST OF THIS
CRISIS.
ALSO INSULTED HIS LAST OPPONENT,
RE-TWEETING SOMETHING THAT
CALLED HER A, QUOTE, SKANK.
CONSTANT ATTACKS FOR NANCY
PELOSI
PELOSI.
EVEN THOUGH AMERICA, FOR THE
MOST PART, HAS COME TOGETHER TO
BEND THE CURVE, THIS PRESIDENT
DOES NOT SEEM TO BE ANYTHING
RESEMBLING A PRESIDENT THAT
WANTS TO BRING THE COUNTRY
TOGETHER.
MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE
CONCERNED THAT HE’S UNMOORED.
AND MORE, I THINK, TRAGICALLY,
UNMOVED BY THE NEARLY 100,000
DEAD AMERICANS.
>> JOE, A NOTE ON THE FRONT PAGE
OF "THE NEW YORK TIMES" FIRST I
THINK IS SO POWERFUL ABOUT THE
LIST OF NAMES IS THAT IT’S
WHAT’S NOT THERE.
IT WAS ON DISPLAYED ON THE FRONT
PAGE IS ONLY 1/100th.
A NUMBER THAT IS ONLY GOING TO
INCREASE.
ONLY GOING INCREASE DRAMATICALLY
AS THE MONTHS GO ON PARTICULARLY
IF THERE ARE SUBSEQUENT WAVES.
WHEN YOU AND JON MEACHAM WERE
TALKING ABOUT THE PORTRAITS OF
GRIEF "THE TIMES" DID SO
MOVINGLY AFTER SEPTEMBER 11th,
THEY BASICALLY SAID THEY CAN’T
DO A SIMILAR EFFORT HERE.
THAT WAS 3,000 NAMES THIS IS
100,000 AND CLIMBING.
THERE’S NO WAY TO REPORT OUT,
WRITE OUT EVERY STORY, EVERY
STORY OF A LIFE LOST TO THIS
PANDEMIC.
IN TERMS OF THE WHITE HOUSE, THE
PRESIDENT YESTERDAY RESUMED
GOLFING.
IT WAS HIS FIRST TIME SINCE THE
PANDEMIC REALLY CAME TO AMERICAN
SHORES.
HE TRAVELED TO HIS GOLF CLUB IN
SUBURBAN, VIRGINIA.
IT’S PART OF HIS EFFORT TO SHOW
AMERICANS THAT THINGS ARE
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL.
IT’S MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.
WE ARE SEEING BEACHES, SOME
BEACHES CROWDED DISTURBINGLY
WITHOUT ANY SOCIAL DISTANCING.
WE ARE SEEING THE PRESIDENT
TAKING WEEKLY TRIPS NOW TO
BATTLEGROUND STATES.
HE WAS, OF COURSE, IN MICHIGAN
THIS PAST WEEK.
THERE WAS A FLAP ABOUT HIM NOT
WEARING A MASK IN PUBLIC.
HE IS TRYING TO TURN THE PAGE ON
THE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS PART OF
THIS AND REALLY FOCUS ON THE
ECONOMY.
HE DID THAT YESTERDAY, A SIGN OF
RETURNING BACK TO REGULAR LIFE
BY GOLFING, COMING ON THE HEELS
OF DR. BIRX FRIDAY STRESSING
OVER AND OVER AND OVER THAT
GOLFING IN PARTICULAR WILL BE
SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE SAFE.
THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO TRAVEL
AGAIN THIS WEEK.
HE’S GOING TO MARK MEMORIAL DAY
AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY,
AN EVENT IN BALTIMORE AS WELL.
HE’S EXPECTED TO GO TO FLORIDA
LATER IN THE WEEK ADDITIONALLY.
RIGHT NOW THIS IS "THE TIMES"
YESTERDAY, THAT MOVING TRIBUTE.
THAT IS NOT WHERE THIS WHITE
HOUSE IS.
IT TOOK UNTIL THIS WEEKEND, IN
FACT, JOE AND MIKA, FOR THEM TO
FINALLY LOWER THE FLAGS TO
HALF-MAST AS A TRIBUTE TO THOSE
WHO HAVE DIED.
>> I JUST WANT TO POINT TWO MORE
NAMES OUT TO YOU, JOE, BECAUSE
THERE WAS A MENTION OF THE
PORTRAITS OF GRIEF ON 9/11.
THESE SOMEHOW STING.
MIKE FIELD, WHO WAS 59, HE’S
FROM VALLEY STREAM, NEW YORK.
HE WAS A FIRST RESPONDER DURING
THE 9/11 ATTACKS.
AND ALBERT PETROCELLI, 73, WAS A
FIRE CHIEF, WHO ANSWERED THE
CALL ON 9/11.
AND I REMEMBER THE POLICE
OFFICERS AND THE FIRE CHIEFS AND
THE FIRE AND RESCUE OFFICIALS
WHO WERE HIDING IN A SCHOOL ON
9/11.
I WAS IN THERE WITH THEM AND I
REMEMBER THEM RUNNING BACK INTO
THE BUILDINGS KNOWING PERHAPS IT
WOULD BE THE LAST MOMENT THEY
SPOKE ON THE PHONE WITH THEIR
WIVES, BUT THEY DID IT.
THEY SERVED.
THEY SERVED, THEY RESPONDED, AND
ANSWERED THE CALL.
AND YET THIS COUNTRY WAS
TERRIBLY UNPREPARED TO SAVE
THEM.
>> YOU ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT HOW
AS ONE OF THE TOWERS CAME DOWN
YOU ALL WENT RUNNING INTO A
SCHOOL AND THERE WERE THE FIRST
RESPONDERS.
>> THEY WERE INCREDIBLE.
>> THEY WERE IN THERE WITH YOU.
>> EVEN BEFORE THE DUST SETTLED
THEY WERE CRAWLING OUT THE FRONT
DOOR MAKING THEIR WAY BACK TO
THE TOWERS.
JON MEACHAM, YOU HAVE WRITTEN A
BOOK THAT SO MANY AMERICANS
CONNECTED WITH, "THE SOUL OF
AMERICA."
AND JUST WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO
GIVE US A FEW THOUGHTS THIS
SUNDAY MORNING ABOUT THE SOUL OF
AMERICA AND, TO ME AT LEAST,
THERE SEEMS TO BE GREAT CONTRAST
BETWEEN THE SOUL OF AMERICA AND
SOME OF OUR LEADERSHIP IN
WASHINGTON, D.C.
AND AROUND THE COUNTRY IN
GOVERNOR’S MANSIONS.
BECAUSE WHEN YOU SEE AS MANY
AMERICANS COME TOGETHER AS THEY
DID TO BEND THE CURVE, YOU
SUDDENLY REALIZED THAT PICTURES
OF PEOPLE CARRYING MILITARY
STYLE WEAPONS AND SCREAMING AND
YELLING AND ABUSING LAW
ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ARE
SURROUNDING A REPORTER IN
MINNESOTA AND SCREAMING AT HIM,
YELLING AT HIM AND PUSHING HIM
AND TELLING HIM TO TAKE OFF HIS
MASK, THAT ACTUALLY WE MAY BE
DOING A DISSERVICE SHOWING THOSE
CLIPS BECAUSE THEY ACCOUNT FOR
SUCH A SMALL PORTION OF AMERICA
AND SUCH A DARK SLIVER OF
AMERICA’S SOUL BECAUSE, ALL IN
ALL, AMERICANS HAVE STEPPED UP.
THEY’VE BEEN STRONG AND THEY’VE
DONE WHAT THEY HAD TO DO TO BEND
THE CURVE.
>> THE WORD SOUL ITSELF MEANS
BREATH OR LIFE IN HEBREW.
IN GENESIS WHEN GOD BREATHES
LIFE INTO MAN THAT WORD CAN BE
TRANSLATED AS SOUL.
WHEN JESUS SAID GREATER LOVE AND
THE SOUL WAS THE ESSENCE OF
WHERE WE ARE.
SOCRATES WROTE IT AS A PAGAN AND
RELIGIOUS THOUGHT.
THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS THE
FREEDOMPREDOMINANT FEATURE YOU W
JUST SAYING OF THAT SOUL.
TO MY MIND IT’S AN ARENA OF
CONTENTION BETWEEN OUR BETTER
ANGELS AND OUR WORST INSTINCTS.
AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE
UNITED STATES HAS BEEN THAT FOR
ALL OF OUR IMPERFECTIONS, FOR
ALL OF OUR DERELICTIONS, ALL OF
OUR SHORTCOMINGS, FOR ALL OF OUR
SINS, WE HAVE, IN FACT, BENT THE
CURVE TOWARD A MORE PERFECT
UNION.
WE’RE NOT PERFECT YET.
WE’RE NOT GOING TO BE PERFECT.
IT WAS ONCE SAID THE TRAGEDY OF
MAN IS THAT HE CAN PERCEIVE
PERFECTION BUT CANNOT CONCEIVE
IT.
BUT THE POINT IS WE’RE STILL
HERE.
WE’RE FIGHTING TO MAKE THE
COUNTRY HOPEFULLY, TO USE
DAVID’S TERM, STRONGER, FAIRER,
MORE GENERALLY ACCEPTING OF THE
FULL IMPLICATIONS OF THE IDEAS
THAT THOMAS JEFFERSON, HIMSELF A
FLAWED MESSENGER, WROTE IN WHAT
WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT SENTENCE
EVER ORIGINALLY RENDERED IN
ENGLISH, I WOULD ARGUE, THAT ALL
MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.
WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN STRONGER THE
MORE DIRECTLY WE REALIZED THE
TRUTH OF THAT SENTENCE AND
APPLIED THE STRENGTH OF THAT
SENTENCE.
WE’RE ALWAYS GOING TO BE FLAWED.
THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE
THOSE FOLKS, AS YOU SAY, WITH
THE ASSAULT WEAPONS, ALWAYS
PEOPLE STANDING AT A RALLY
SAYING KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT
OF MY MEDICARE.
THERE’S JUST -- WE’RE GOING TO
DEAL WITH THAT FOREVER.
AND IT’S PROBABLY A FAIRLY HIGH
PERCENTAGE.
PROBABLY 30%, 35% OF THE COUNTRY
ARE NOT GOING TO WANT FOR
VARIOUS REASONS TO PARTICIPATE
IN A COVENANT OF GENEROSITY.
BUT THE COVENANT OF GENEROSITY
IS WHAT MAKES AMERICA AMERICA.
I’LL LEAVE YOU WITH THIS.
WHAT I WOULD URGE PEOPLE WHO
BLINDLY SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT OR
BLINDLY SUPPORT EITHER SIDE,
THINK ABOUT THIS.
WHAT DO WE COMMEMORATE?
WHAT DO WE CELEBRATE?
WE DON’T COMMEMORATE AND
CELEBRATE HOURS OF SELFISHNESS.
WE DON’T COMMEMORATE AND
CELEBRATE PEOPLE WHO DON’T HELP,
WHO RUN AWAY FROM THOSE
BUILDINGS, AS MIKA WAS SAYING.
WE COMMEMORATE AND CELEBRATE THE
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, THE VOTING
RIGHTS ACT, WORLD WAR II.
WE DON’T CELEBRATE THE
ISOLATIONISTS.
DO WE TALK ABOUT 1930s OR DO WE
TALK ABOUT 1941 FORWARD?
SELF-EVIDENTLILY WE TALK ABOUT
1941 FORWARD.
WE TALK ABOUT HITTING THE
BEACHES AT NORMANDY TRYING TO
LIBERATE THE CAMPS.
WE DON’T TALK ABOUT THE FACT
CHARLES LINDBERGH TALKED ABOUT
AMERICA FIRST AND A SILENT
MAJORITY.
THERE’S A VERNACULAR OF
SELFISHNESS THAT RUNS THROUGHOUT
THE COUNTRY BUT THERE’S ALSO,
GOD WILLING, THESE INSTINCTS TO
HEED THOSE BETTER ANGELS, AND
THAT’S WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, THE
SIDE OF HISTORY YOU WANT TO BE
ON.
>> AND WE HAVE THEM STILL
OUTNUMBERED.
>> WE’RE LOOKING AT THE NAMES
PROFILED BY "THE NEW YORK TIMES"
AS WE GO TO BREAK.
ORLANDO MANKATA WAS 56 OF
BRONXVILLE, NEW YORK.
HE LEFT PERU TO GRAB HOLD OF THE
AMERICAN DREAM.
JOHN OF TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA, A
VOLUNTEER YOUTH FOOTBALL COACH.
AND A 22-YEAR-OLD, ISRAEL WAS A
NEW FATHER.
JON MEACHAM, THANK YOU VERY
MUCH.
SOME OF THE MUST-READ OPINION
PAGES.
PLUS, JOE BIDEN WARNED BACK IN
JANUARY ABOUT THE THREAT POSED
BY THE CORONAVIRUS AND PRESIDENT
TRUMP’S INABILITY TO MANAGE IT.

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