Our Damaged Democracy: Joseph Califano, Jr. with Robert Semple

Tue. May 15, 2018 at 6:30pm EDT
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A top insider from the LBJ and Carter administrations joins a half-century veteran of the New York Times to examine the strains on democracy — and what we can do to heal them.

In Our Damaged Democracy Joseph Califano notes that he has never in all his  85 years “been so concerned about the destiny of our democracy.” The Harvard-educated lawyer grew up in Depression-era Brooklyn, served in the White House of President Lyndon Johnson, acted as an attorney for the Democratic Party during Watergate, and represented clients as varied as the Black Panther Party and Coca-Cola in his years as a Washington and Wall Street lawyer. “It’s not enough to be mad as hell about the situation,” Califano writes. “Now is the time to do something about it, and we the people—and only we—can.” 

Citing obstacles such as an unbalanced concentration of power in the executive branch, partisan politics and gerrymandering, campaign finance laws, income and education inequality, Califano has the perspective to explain where our democracy has taken wrong turns, and how we must act if we are to save it from eroding completely.

Joseph Califano speaks with Robert Semple, who spent a year covering President Johnson himself, and has served for 30 years as the associate editor of the The New York Times Editorial page.

For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A stand by line will form one hour before the program.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Ayofemi Kirby at ayofemikirby@nypl.org.

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Venue Details
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Wachenheim Trustees Room (2nd Floor) The New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street & 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018