November 24, 2023
For all that the news these days is faster and more furious than ever—and that much of it is horrifying—it is clear to me that those of us eager to protect our democracy are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
These Letters from an American began in September 2019 as a response to questions people asked about the confusion swirling around us. At the time, we had just heard about a whistleblower complaint that then–acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire was illegally withholding from Congress. Then–House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) had written an angry letter to Maguire demanding that he hand over the complaint, as the law required, and suggested the complaint was likely about an important figure in the Trump White House. We were all trying to piece together what on earth was going on.
Within days, we were in the midst of what would become the first impeachment of former president Trump for refusing to release money to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated to enable Ukraine to fight Russian occupation unless Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky helped Trump smear Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
We are now more than four years into these letters, and the contours of the national crisis we are facing are ever so much clearer than they were when we started.
But what has remained the same is that this project, along with the new book that grew from it, really belongs to you. While I do the legwork of trying to explain the politics of these turbulent times, and my heroic editors keep my writing clean and factual, it is your voices that inspire me when I am so dead tired I fall asleep sitting up. You bring in related material, ask questions, and correct my stupid errors.
Above all, it is you who are helping to model what we so desperately need in America: a respectful community based in facts, rather than in anger and partisanship, a community that can defend our democracy and carry it into a new era.
And we are only one community out of many dedicated to the same principles.
Until the past two months of travel across this country, I did not realize how deep and wide this movement has become.
One thing and another conspired to make my family have to put off our Thanksgiving until today, so I am a day late in telling you all how honored I am to be walking this road alongside all of you and how very proud I am of what we are building together.
Thank you, for all of it.
[Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images]