489 Comments

Tears here too. I’m not sure where I’d be or where my marriage would be without these letters. You see, even though I’m an independent and my husband a republican we have always respected one another’s political viewpoints. My “staunch republican” husband, who did not vote for Trump but who didn’t vote Democratic either, has been swayed through these letters to see the current Republican Party for what it is. Thank you for saving my 42 year marriage and my sanity! Now off to the first day of administering special education to high school students in three different models: in person, hybrid and remote. Heaven help us all.🙏🏻

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For teaching, give yourself grace! I have or have seen other teachers break down every day. I gave a soda and chocolate kisses to a coworker openly crying in the hallway just yesterday. Take care of yourself and your friends. It’s not easy! But I do my job and hopefully I’m careful enough! Good luck! Stay Safe!

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My daughter in law is doubt exactly the same - high school Special Ed for severely disabled students. I retired in June after 33 years teaching middle school Language Arts. Take care of yourself.

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My daughter teaches special ed in Georgia, one of those most backward states where the ignorant good-ol-boy governor fights against ppl wearing masks, making a dangerous situation worse. I just hope she gets thru this. Her risk is probably up there with first responders and ICU nurses.

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I am just appalled at the decisions of some in leadership positions. I hope your daughter can keep herself safe in her own classroom. It is so wrong to ask our teachers to risk their lives this way with no real way to make every school safe considering the huge disparity in facility safety due to age and neglect as well as access to the needed added safety tools like PPE. 😢

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I teach Art. I see every child and almost every adult in the building. Face to face is not like it was pre Covid. But I try to stay safe as possible. The high school in my neighborhood closed today. Multiple positive cases! Tax payers want their money’s worth. I’m scheduling more personal days, just so they can get their money’s worth! For what I make, I shouldn’t be here near as much as I am! 😆

Stay Safe Everybody!

💙

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This taxpayer wants our children's teachers to be alive and in good health. That is far more important than pretending that we can have normal classes in the midst of this pandemic.

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Ugh, wish there was an edit function. My phone keyboard is frustrating. How did doing become doubt? 😂🤣

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Autocorrect is my enema ...

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Not a typo I'm sure.😆

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😁

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I disabled autocorrect after that embarrassing alteration to a text message I sent about the dysfunctionality of the American penal system...

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Me too! I’m always messing up! I hate typos!

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Thank you and stay well.

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Well, I teared up reading this...I don't exaggerate when I say that your's is the voice I have come to rely on and trust the most. Your words are beacons of clarity in the midst of the chaos and optimistic in defiance of the tsunami of negativity flooding our nation. "Thank you" seems woefully insufficient, but I assure you it is heart-felt; I am more grateful to you and for you than I can say.

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Ditto. And, for me, not only 'beacons of clarity' but also of historic perspective and knowledge that I treasure. I so often wish that my dear father-in-law were still living so that I could gain his perspective on current issues. I think of him as a sage and now HCR fills that spot. Thank you.

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I feel the same about my father and his wisdom. Thank you again HCR.

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Please. It's not about me, it's not about your other readers, either. It's about you, Professor; the knowledge, the writing about complicated issues that clarify all, and ultimately give many of us the hope, that precious gift that you have and share with all of us.

Thank you for all of this and more, ma'am. Somehow, I feel unworthy of the multiple gifts which you bestow upon the rest of us. What I do know is that I am always better for having read anything you've written.

Again, thank you.

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Thank you for showing up when you did and becoming our trusted source for interpretation of each day’s events; fit grounding us in historical context that we either had never learned, or had forgotten. I’ll always think of 2020 as the year of the pandemic, of course, but also as the year I embraced books by historians, other scholars, worried protectors of democracy, and journalists.

I was married to a man who loved American history with a passion. Rory was ABD in American economic history when he left grad school for law school because at that time (the 70s) the job market for historians was non-existent. Our entire marriage (33 years) he yearned to be a historian and to teach history, bringing context and analysis to the public dialogue so we knew how we ended up with the landscape we were trying to make sense of. He would have been a passionate reader of your daily letters. I now see more clearly the source of his passion for the discipline of rigorous research.

One night we were invited to a trivia fundraiser for a local opera company. He was ill and stayed home. When I returned and he mumbled a question about how the evening went. I said that we had done pretty well but were flummoxed by one question, which I relayed to him. I forget the question, but amidst his fever and pain, he muttered “The battle of Belmont.” Which of course was the answer none of the hundreds of people there could come up with. He died a year later but your letters always remind me of him. I hadn’t intended to write about him when I started a note to thank you, but sometimes we (I) don’t know our own thoughts until we start writing. Thank you from both of us for reminding of our past so we can protect our future.

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Linda Locke, I would have loved to talk about "what HCR wrote today" with my dad who passed away six years ago. If my dad was living, Trump as President would have sent him over the top. He was a Master Electrician, however loved history and reading about World War II. He gave a history talk covering the 1940s, 50s, and 60s to my nephew's elementary school class. The teacher and kids enjoyed it so much he was asked back a couple of years later to give the talk to my niece's class.

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Thank you from the bottom of my history-loving heart. And from the top of my wtf brain.

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Best reply ever! “My wtf brain”—description of mine since January 2017.

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There's a certain balance that grows from hearing the truth. And constant re-balancing is necessary in the flood of inanity, cruelty and lawlessness coming out of our most powerful office in the country. I do wonder what Steve Bannon is doing these days. I also have a (sort of sweet) hope that as in the end of The Wizard of Oz, we will see that the current president is really not as powerful as he projects. And that his awful reign can end with a whimper. And we will legally and peacefully walk away into a newly re-sustained democracy.

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Oh this is perfect!

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From your mouth to G-D’s ears! Secular alternative: may it be so! Get out the vote!

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My dream exactly. And I think it will happen.

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'A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle' (Father James Keller) Thank you HCR for being the candle that gives light to the other candles.

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Dear Heather,

Congratulations on your full year’s valiant and generous efforts. Bless you for helping thousands upon thousands of people traverse all these jarring and bruising political events.

I know you’re aware how apathetic and ignorant most Americans are regarding politics and political history. I was one of those people until a friend on social media shared one of your posts in early November 2019.

Reading your posts has changed how I receive and perceive politics and news. Before your posts, I was scared, angry, ignorant, and confused by the news, and not seeing the real patterns in the seemingly erratic actions of the Trump Administration. I also hadn’t fully caught on to the media’s flawed and dangerous tactics in how they report WH actions and its effects.

Understanding how government works and being aware of its actions should be a priority in school and part of everyone’s daily life. People’s lives, livelihoods, health, and freedoms depend on it. This shocks me still to know it is not hyperbole.

Well, I am still angry and scared, but it is with far greater knowledge and for the right reasons.

My deepest and most sincerest gratitude,

Lisa Winfeld

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You are a national treasure.

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Heather, you are the much-needed adult in the room. I thank you every morning.

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thank you, Dr Richardson, for giving us your nights of sleep, so that we all keep learning from your historian's and educator's perspective, marveling all the while at how you filter all of this mayhem into a cogent narrative. Without intending to (at least at the outset), you've been writing one of the most important chronicles of this administration. Please take care of yourself so you can keep going!

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Here, here!

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Thank you for writing these letters. Most days your letter is the only news that I can handle digesting. You translate all the craziness without hype, panic, or incitement. Thank you for helping me stay informed and explaining the historical, constitutional importance and ethical importance of the day’s events in our country.

P.S. I also enjoy the days that you take off to relax and rejuvenate!

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I agree that with the idea of enjoying your days off. It gives me permission to take a break and breath and reflect.

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And Buddy’s gorgeous photos, too!

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Heather, you are too modest when you call yourself a translator. Your missives are like an injection of Trumpism antibodies, a daily transfusion of truth, a dose of democratic ideals. Every time I mention to someone that I subscribe to your newsletter, the person I'm speaking with gets animated and excited and says, "me too." To push my precarious metaphor further, Letters from an American is a Trump vaccine. Thank you.

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You realize you just answered question #14 for the Democrats - “this is America… and here, right matters.” Thank you for helping us stay sane.

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I am resident of Louisville KY home of the late Breonna Taylor. A recent open letter to the mayor reflects on this theme. This letter was before today's announcement of $12million wrongful death settlement from the city. It called on the mayor to “move forward with moral integrity”

“There is no leaping over Breonna Taylor’s body to the broader changes you and we know are necessary. These are tied together and cannot be pried apart.”

White silence “allows race-based inequity and violence to continue with devastating consequences

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In yesterday's letter, Elaine Hewitt wrote, "I would love to put all of you who comment here in one area and make sure I live there also. I want to be among those who are thoughtful and intelligent," to which I responded, "Yes, we could form a commune and call it Heatherton." There may be only a virtual commune of us, but I am happy and honored to be a Heathertonian. Thank you for taking the time to bring illuminating perspective every day to combat the encroaching darkness and give us hope.

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Thank you so much for your dedication, perseverance, and courage in applying the gift of your intellect with the caring of your heart. However I have been socially conscious all these years, your Letters and video talks have taught me the historical concepts to understand current events and give me a voice to articulate them.

We have the good fortune of your volunteer service to bolster us in countering the toxic forces at work. We welcome your self care!

With your humility, no doubt you derive satisfaction from simply doing the right thing, but you deserve any award of public recognition there is to be had--MacArthur, Pulitzer, and/or a real Nobel Peace Prize for the Preservation of Democracy!

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and thank you for the bonus of creating this forum of readers--heartfelt thinkers and writers in their own right!

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I tell people, read this! It has Pulitzer written all over it! And gain a few readers! 💙

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At the very least, history shall remember you as the great synthesizer and translator of what is happening now. I so hope that future generations will learn from this and choose not to repeat it.

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