This morning we awoke to news that rail carriers and union leaders had reached an agreement to avoid a national rail strike that would have badly tangled the supply chains that are just now starting to move efficiently again. That, in turn, would have affected everything from drinking water—the chlorine to purify urban systems is shipped by train—to consumer goods, costing up to $2 billion a day and likely sparking job losses and contributing to the inflation that has only recently begun to ease.
Professor, your work brought us together. And together we stand as one, informed citizens in unwavering support of democracy and the rule of law.
I’m sure you didn’t expect to be doing these letters for three years. But we are sure glad you’ve continued. It’s given us so much knowledge, but also so much comfort in dark times. Thank you so very much!!
Well said, well done... and thank you for your sleepless nights. We have a long way to go. Very long. Tolerance is scarce, prejudice is deep and abiding, it’s our national shame. We must confront the problems lest they own us. President Biden can take note. The citizen must lead. The GOP must flip back to its origins. Long shot? Yes. We must hope.
Professor Richardson, you have been my daily guiding light. I’ve followed you from (nearly) Day One. Your Letters are a knife that cuts sharply, clearly, cleanly, through noise. Thank you.
What a wonderful anniversary.
I can't thank you enough, professor, for your eloquence, hard work and knowledge of American history and politics.
As for the issues surrounding the averted rail strike, I wonder how it's possible that mangement is unable (more likely, unwilling) to understand that an employee's quality of life includes not just a decent wage, but time to enjoy one's life, as well?
Moreover, if the U.S. had a national sick leave policy as other countries have, railroad management/owners wouldn't be able to impose such draconian schedules.
Many thanks again for your exceptional newsletter.
It’s a privilege to read your letter. I feel much more informed and through your sharing historical perspective have a deeper understanding of and appreciation of our shared American values. No small thing. Thank you so much again!
Dr. Cox Richardson,
Your hard work of the these past three years is valued and beloved by more people than you can imagine. I especially enjoyed the one-on-one video interview you conducted with President Biden. I, and I think many others, would like to see you reprise that event to the point where you can make it a custom during his administration. Of course, the scheduling is up to POTUS. Also, it is high time that we see you appearing on national TV talk shows as one of the elite scholars of American history. Your ability to intertwine historical context with the news of the day is needed in the public discourse. Thank you for all that you have accomplished with your Letters from an American over these past three years. I hope to look forward for your continuation of this important service to our country. All the Best, BC
Thank you Heather for launching this newsletter three years ago. I look forward to it every day to help me put history and current events into perspective. I trust you and your insights - and there are so few people to trust these days. “And that’s the way it is.”
It was one of my students who told me about your Letters, long before they moved to Substack, a student whose family moved to the West from Iran in search of freedom and opportunity.
From that day to this, now three years on, your Letters have become and indispensable part of each day, a trusted weather vane, a guide to understanding the turbulent times in which we live.
My fellow travelers here have expressed so well their appreciation for you and the effort you have given to this project, for the contribution you have made to the quality of the nation's discourse and to the enrichment of our understanding.
I would add my voice to theirs, to the echoes of praise and thanks that ring this ever widening circle.
The railroad story is another example of the fact that the rich and powerful never needed the government's protection. They can find a way to be profitable in all sorts of economic conditions. The little people are the ones who need assistance to have a measure of leverage in their relationship to corporate administrations. A single day of paid sick leave? What a huge concession on the part of management, right? One thing about a moving train; you can't just climb off when it reaches 5:00 pm on any given day. Even if you could, you might find yourself 100 miles from nowhere, with no bus ride home. 20 billion dollars in profit is a lot of leverage. A strike is a blunt tool, but obviously effective if POTUS feels compelled to become part of the negotiation process.
And thank you, Professor Richardson. I think your letters are appreciated more than you know.
Why I go to HCR first:
In all the NY Times stories I read on the railroad labor issues, there was no mention, none, of the huge profits of the RR companies. It seems to me that honest journalism requires that reporting on labor/management issues requires that company profits be brought to light next to worker demands.
Once again, in his efforts to forestall a national railroad strike, Joe Biden has shown real leadership.
What President Biden is doing in calling for Americans to forego violence is really essential. He is asserting the moral voice that has been sadly missing for the last few years under Trump and his supporters. People need reminding that the country operates better with a healthy respect for the law and that the president, now that we have one with some moral authority, is promoting ways for people to come together rather than come to blows. Without that voice, America falters and could fall further apart.
My heart is lifted by your words.Thank you for beginning these letters. Your words are well researched, and I so appreciate that.
Thank you for this useful information. We should insist that safety comes first no matter what you are doing. Management always cries about not enough money no matter what business you are talking about. There is lots of money in this country. The billionaires have way too much and are making their money off the backs of others. Management and stock holders have tons of money. It is the worker bees who do all the work and keep it all together and running that get screwed. I worked as an ICU nurse for 10 years and I wasn’t doing it to get rich. Good thing because I sure wasn’t going to get there; meanwhile the head of the co-op healthcare system made more than the Governor of our state! The inequality in this country is outrageous. This cannot stand.
Thank you HCR! I would be lost without your insight, wisdom and dedication! ❤️
As of late, it’s become increasingly clear, at least to me, that the two principal factors that will determine whether we remain a liberal democracy or devolve into an illiberal autocracy are the ballot box and the Courts. Were it not for the rich conversations among us inspired by our remarkably learned leader, speaking perhaps not only for myself, I don’t imagine I would be nearly as adept at asking sufficiently pertinent questions that have guided me towards increasingly plausible solutions. I am grateful beyond words.