tv C-SPAN Programming CSPAN December 24, 2016 3:41pm-6:21pm EST
lost their mom and what the vice president wrote to them just this summer. over and over again, he's demonstrated that kind of compassion. i can remember it in my own case in a very personal way. it was only an election loss. i ran for governor of pennsylvania in a primary. as many of you know, primaries are particularly difficult. i lost badly. no one called on wednesday after tuesday. one reporter showed up at my door, and i opened the door and really couldn't say much to this reporter, but i was grateful she was there. but i got one phone call on wednesday. maybe a couple family members. i come from a family of eight. i think my wife was talking to me, but other than that, the only person who called me was joe biden. and he made some kind of grand prix dicks. i thought he was just being nice, that i would somehow come back. but you know what? he was right, and he made me feel much better that day, and he probably -- he may not
remember it, but i'll remember that for the rest of my life. i think certainly when we think about the vice president, we could center on another one worn abiding, an enduring commitment to justice. his whole public life could be -- could be summarized in that word, in the commitment that he's had to justice. we could quote from the bible, blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. i'm not sure joe biden has ever been satisfied yet with justice. he's always pursuing it, always trying to bring justice to a problem or to a situation or to the life of a fellow citizen. we think of what st. augustin said about justice a long time ago, but it still bears repeating. without justice, what are
kingdoms but great bands of robbers? that's what st. augustin said hundreds of years ago. joe biden has lived his life as a public official and as a man, as a citizen with that same burning desire to bring justice into the dark corners of our world, and he knows that without that justice, someone is, in fact, robbed of so much, robbed of their dignity, robbed of their safety, robbed of a full life. but joe, i think i say maybe the best line, with all due respect to the scriptures and to st. augustin was one my father said. he wrote it down years ago, but he probably gave maybe the best description of what a public official should be about. and i'm not sure i have ever attributed this to anyone else but him. he said the most important quality a public official can
bring to their work are two things. number one, a passion for justice, which, of course, joe biden has in abundance, and a sense of outrage in the face of injustice. that if you have both of those, on most days you're going to get it right, and his life as a united states senator for 36 years, as vice president for eight years and as a citizen for all those years and more has been about that passion for justice and a sense of outrage in the face of injustice. we all know his record. we don't have to recite all of it. from the violence against women act, which we know is an acronym vawa. of course, an acronym doesn't do justice to the meaning of what that meant. and so many today have talked about how he saved the lives of women and families because of
that legislation. so from vawa to a.r.a., the american recovery and reinvestment act. the act that helped dig this country out of the ditch it was and rescued and improved the lives of so many people. he not only worked to get it passed, but then he made sure it was implemented. it might be the most popular piece of legislation 25 years from now when people really appreciate what happened with the recovery act. from diplomacy to law enforcement, to not just supporting our troops, not just working on legislation and supporting them, not only when his son was a member of our armed forces, but long before that. but what he did very specifically to protect our troops. we know the scourge of i.e.d.'s, which was the number-one killer of our troops in iraq, in afghanistan. a lot of those troops' lives were saved because of joe biden.
armoring vehicles and doing all the work he did to protect our troops. so whether it was national security or security in our streets, whether it was protecting women who would be the subject of abuse or helping children or improving our economy. on and on, we can talk about that record, but just as you can't just list achievements in a record and encapsulate what it means, so the same is true of a 36-year career in the united states senate and then eight years as vice president. lincoln probably said it best. lincoln said it's not the years in your life that matters. in the end, it's the life in those years, and that's, i think, true of joe biden as well. two more points. one of the best qualities of the vice president, as a man especially, but also as a public official, is his sense of gratitude. if you knew him for a half an
hour or for your whole life, you know that almost always he's speaking about people in his life that made him who he was, made him who he is today. whether it's his mother and father or whether it's his family, his whole family, his brothers and sisters and his sons and daughters and of course jill. it's a -- it's a reminder of how grateful we should be. in so many ways when you hear joe biden speak, his speeches tend to be on many occasions a hymn to gratitude, and that comes through all the time. we know how much he suffered with all the losses he sustained. i was talking to him recently at an event in scranton about -- about his son beau and his life and what a patriot beau biden was. i think today we can say the
following about the vice president. this is a man who was a great, great vice president. this is a man who was a committed and very effective united states senator. but may be most important he's been a faithful son, a loving and proud husband and father and a patriot. thank you, sir, and god bless you. mr. nelson: mr. president, these speeches were just supposed to go on for one hour, and we are already at the two-hour mark, but perhaps since we are honoring you, mr. president, this is most appropriate.
mr. president, i would say to our colleagues and our guests you say the name among us of joe biden and a smile automatically comes to our lips. and that's because the vice president is a lover of people. that's true, we know it's true. we -- and that's why we have this genuine affection today being expressed, and since the hour is late, my remarks are going to be very short, but i just want to highlight that it's very characteristic, i can even tell all of the stories of the biden family because i've heard them so much.
it's also very true that if you are talking to joe and suddenly your wife comes up or your daughter comes up, all of a sudden joe is not focusing on you, he is giving his total attention to the ladies present, and that is most appreciated, and that, of course, is why he is such a big fan -- he is such a big fan of the nelson household, not only of grace and nanellen, but also of bill jr. he always treats our children with respect and goes out of his way.
or i can remember recently just absolutely cooking in north palm beach on the stage in the hot sun, and joe was always there making the case for whoever it was that he was standing up for. and, of course, he always made you feel that you were welcome. so i remember one time we got off an airplane and he's going to his limousine and many a going back to -- and i'm going back to the gast van in the -- to the guest van in the back. he motioned that i'm goin to coe with him. i said, mr. veterans administration i never presume that i should come here. he says, i always want you here
when we were traveling together. that's what makes him so special. finally, i want to comment about the moonshot. why is the effort at cancer research called "the moonshot?" it's because we achieved what was almost the impossible. when the president said, we're going to the moon and returned safely within the decade, and america marshaled the will and in fact did that incredible accomplishment. that's why we're going to have the moonshot for cancer. we've already made so much progress, but now with the former vice president of the united states heading up all the
efforts where we can keep the attention on n.i.h., so it doesn't go from a level rocking along about 24 billion, 25 billion and the stimulus shoots it up to in the first two years of the vice president's office, up to $30 billion a year, and then it drops down to $24 billion, $25 billion, and dr. francis collins has to cancel 700 of the medical research grants that he has already issued. because we have the moonshot headed by joe biden, we are going to find the cure for all those kinds of cancers. that is the great legacy that the vice president of the united states will have.
mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from virginia. mr. kaine: mr. president, i rise in honor of your service, and i just want to tell my favorite joe biden story. this is a story that the vice president has heard me tell, but i want it on record because everyone should know this story. and it's a story of an interaction between our vice president on one of the most important days in his life and a young man from richmond, virginia, my hometown, on one of the most important davis his lievment it was election day 2008 and i was governor of virginia and i was responsible for the running of the elections in my state on that day when senator joe biden was running for vice president with our president barack obama. i received a call in the middle of the morning -- there was going 0 to be a surprise visit to a polling place in richmond after having voted in wilmington, senator biden was going to make a stop in witch -n
richmond and wanted to meet some voters to await the election results. we gave him the address an elementary school polling flaifs very near the richmond airport. and i raced there with my security dough tail to gleet a few minutes before he arrived for a surprise visit with voters who were going to love having the chance to meet the soon-to-be vice president. ace got there a few minutes before senator biden ariervetiond i saw a friend who had come to vote. i asked how he was doing and he said, i'm doing great. many i'm really excited about voting today. tndz it is also a -- and it is also a special day because i have a nephew with sickle cell anemia and he is casting his first vote. he is so sick, he can't even get out of the vehicle, he said. i watched the election officials at the polling place take a voting machine from inside the school into the car so that his 18-year-old nephew could cast the first vote in his life.
and i saw this young man the nephew of my friend that he was very, very ill. i said to my friend and his nephew, can you wait here for five minutes because i think we could do something really exciting. well, just wait. they said they would. and within five minutes, senator biden came up to meet voters and shook the hand of those in line. and i said, senator, there is a young man here and just as this day is very important to you, because i think you're about to be elected vice president of the united states, for this young african-american male who is very, very ill but extreme. ly excited -- but extremely excited to get out of his house and cast a vote to elect the first african-american president, he is sitting there in that vehicle, will you go and visit with him? and i didn't even have to finish the sentence and put the question mark at the end before senator biden shot across the parking lot and went up to the vehicle and the press corps was
following him. the young man was sitting in the back seat. joe just jumped in the front seat, closed the door, rolled up the windows so nobody could hear the conversation. and the press corps gathered around all four sides of the vehicle with their cameras taking pictures of senator biden in an extremely animated and somewhat lengthy conversation with the 18-year-old who had just cast his vote. to me, that will always be the quintessential joe biden story. joe biden is the irish poet of american politicians. he and i share a passion for the irish poet, will william butler yates. yates like our vice president was not just a poet. he was a man of the public. he was a public official. people asked him to weigh in on political matters all the time. and once in the middle of the first world war, somebody asked yates to write a war poem. and he wrote a war poem and the poem was being titled this on being asked to write a war
poem, and the poem says this, "i often think it better that in times like these a poet's mouth be silent, for in truth he has had enough of meddling who can please a young girl in the indolence of her youth or an old man upon a winter night." the meaning of the poem is i may be a public figure. i may have a public job to do. i may be asked to do a public job and to complaim -- claim upon matters of public importance but sometimes even more upon the matters of public is the act to please a young -- is the ability to please a young girl or an old man, or an ill young man casting a first vote, an important vote. the fact that you took your time on that day of importance to you to shed some light and offer some joy to someone who was
struggling, that's the joe biden that has us here for two hours offering these tributes. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i never had the privilege of serving with you, mr. president, in this chamber, but like many of my colleagues, i have come to know you as a friend and a public servant and a model and a mentor. and i have barely enough time to say a few words of tribute here, but i will add more to my remarks on the record. what i want to say very simply is that you have inspired so many of us beyond this chamber, beyond the people whom you've known directly and beyond the
people with whom you've worked. countless young people that are involved in this noble profession because of your example. at a time when public officials and politics are often held in little repute and little repute and often integrity,in their you have given us a good name. and you have enabled so many of us to serve with pride in a profession that is so vital to the continuance of our democracy. beyond the pieces of legislation, whether it's the violence against women act or the assault weapon ban or criminal justice, the list goes on, is that model of public servant. and i want to close by saying that as long as i've known joe
biden, i really came to know him through the eyes of his son. i had the honor of working and serving with beau biden when he was attorney general at the state of delaware and i was attorney general of my state of connecticut. my ambition in life is to have my four children talk about me with the sense of admiration and love and pride that joe biden talked about his dad. i'm very proud and grateful that we had the opportunity to vote today on a law that bears his name. as proud as his dad is of him, his pride in his dad is an example of all of us as parents
parents, hope for our children to have for us. i'm proud to be in this chamber and to have been sworn in to this chamber by you, mr. vice president. and i hope that our paths will continue to cross, as i know they will with so many of us in this chamber and in this country. thank you for your service. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from missouri. mrs. mccaskill: me too. the vice president: the senator from massachusetts. a senator: in 1972 i was a young man in my last year of law school. i decided to run for state representative. mr. markey: i had a cousin who worked at nasa. the older cousin, the smart one, the physicist at nasa. he said there is a young man in delaware, he's running for the senate. what's his name? joe biden. and so from that moment on i was following the career of this
irishman, this latter day descendant of hubert humphrey, the happy warrior, the man who stands up for the common man and woman in our country. and in 1972, you had this great campaign team led by john matilla who captured your spirit, your soul, what you represented now in this half-century of american politics. and in 1976 when i ran for congress, just four years later, saying i think i can run -- i walked into the office of this man john mattilla up in boston that looked like a museum to joe biden with all the joe biden messages on his wall. from that moment on through john matilla, larry rasky, ron
clane, all the people who worked for me and worked for you, i have been privileged to be able to chronicle your journey of work and inspiration for our country. and i think it is really just perfect here that you are the commander in creef of -- commander in chief of this rocket ship to the moon to find the cure for cancer, because that is a mission that has the right man who is going to be leading it. and i think that each and every one of us out here knows that one of the reasons this bill is receiving such an overwhelming vote today is because of you, mr. president. it's because of the respect that we have for you. it's the knowledge that when you were negotiating this bill, and at the end of the day you were going to put the american people first. you were going to make sure that that bill reflected the highest aspiration for every american.
and so i want to speak briefly because there's a reception after this that many people are still waiting to say hello to you. i think every member wanted to come out here, and you inspired them to speak a lot longer than they may have intended on speaking, mr. president. but it's because of the incredible respect and admiration they have for you. my best to you. my wife susan's best to you. there has never been a better public servant in american history. all my best. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from indiana. a senator: on behalf of all the people of my great state, we want to tell you how grateful we are to you for your service. for the extraordinary job you did as vice president to president obama. mr. donnelly: as you know, everybody is telling stories. i had the privilege of having you come up and put your arm
around me. when everybody said there was no chance i could ever win, and you said you and i are a lot alike. and you can do this and you can win. i came back and what advice did president bide -- vice president biden tell you? he said he told me i could win. they said, well, he's right a lot. i don't know about that one. and you turned out to be right. we were blessed that your sons hujtser and beau often -- hunter and beau often came out to indiana during the summers. you would then come out as well. and i'll never forget going to the coffee shop one sunday morning. and the lady at the coffee shop said to me, this has been an unbelievable day because the vice president came in with all his grandchildren and by the way, joe, he bought ice cream for everybody in the store and you've never done that. i said how story i was that i was never -- never did that. but she also said, you know, this is one of the greatest days
of my life to meet somebody who's always looked out for working families, who's always looked out for us. that's how we see you back home. you've always looked out for us. you've always cared about us. and as a second generation irish immigrant, you've always been an example to all of us that we can accomplish anything we dream of. so god bless you and jill and your whole family. i'm so lucky to have been touched by you. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from minnesota. a senator: vice president biden, earlier hubert humphrey's name was mentioned. you know the love the people of minnesota have for you. vice president humphrey was your mentor when you first got to the senate when you didn't know you were going to last a few months there. he was there for you. ms. klobuchar: and you have extended that kindness to so many since then. vice president mondale, another
minnesotan has great affection and love if you and i'll report back to him tonight that i was here with you today. and when i first got elected to the senate and made one of my first speeches about police funding to a completely empty chamber and i thought even my mom wasn't watching on c-span, i walked out of this place and i got a phone call on my cell phone and it was joe biden, then a senator saying, that was a really great speech. and when you came to my state and one of my best friends suddenly lost her husband and you heard about it, you did not know who she was. you just heard the story and two weeks on her first day back at work, she was driving home and she got a call from you. and you talked to her for 20 minutes. and when you were done and had given her all this wonderful advice, you said, we're not done. i want you to write down my phone number. and she said, i'm driving, mr. vice president. i can't do that. and you said, pull over.
and she wrote your phone number on her hand. you did that for her, mr. vice president and you have done that for so many americans. so on behalf of our entire state of minnesota that has loved you forever, thank you. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from delaware. mr. carper: mr. president, i sent up a few minutes ago a wrote to you that i hand wrote that said flattery won't hurt you if you don't inhale. don't breathe too deeply up there. i also recall walking into a hearing with gina mccarthy over at the house of representatives, a joint house-senate hearing. a lot of people had been asking questions, like four hours. it came to my turn to ask a question. i said is there any question administrator carter you haven't
been asked. she said, i wish somebody would ask me if i needed a bathroom break. there are 30 senators in the cloakroom that need to speak. if you need one, let us know. it's a joy to sit here and listen to all these stories. our congressman, governor-elect has come and gone, has gone back over to the house. i used to work for you. you're one of those great mentors. i want to say to chris coons for pulling this all together and making possible just a wonderful tribute. this is the senate at its best. it's so wonderful to see some of our still young colleagues that have come back to visit us and to be with us on this special, special day. over the years people have asked me why i've had some success in my life and i say my sister and i picked the right parents. my sister and i picked the right
parents. joe biden and his brother and sister picked the right parents. i've had the privilege of knowing both. your dad was sick in the hospital, spending time with him, just the two of us, just the two of us. joe, i just want to say for those who maybe don't know, they valued education. they made sure you got a good one along with his brother and sister. i want to say hi to val. they valued education, people of faith. they're catholic. he doesn't wear it on his sleeve but no one believes in the golden rule and being treated like joe biden. nobody does a better reading of james -- show me your faith by your words. i will show you my faith by my
deeds. he doesn't talk a whole lot about his faith but, boy, he sure lives it. from his family, from his mom and dad, he learned the importance of family, the importance of loyalty to his family and frankly to his friends, his multitude of friends. he learned there's a difference between right and wrong and figure out what it is and do it right. do it all the time. he learned a little bit about common sense. my dad used to say to my sister and me, we would do some bone headed stuff. just use some common sense. i think your dad said that to you once or twice as well. and your mom used to say you to, you're knocked down, get up. the idea that you never give up. never give up. that is joe biden. people say to us in this chamber i'm sure every day that they wouldn't want our job. boy, i wouldn't want your job. and i know you've heard that a lot of times. i think we're fortunate to have these jobs and have these responsibilities to serve.
but an even tougher job is to be married to one of us, to be married to one of us. several people have talked about jill, and -- your bride for how many years? almost 40? is that possible? i first saw joe biden, i was a graduate student just out of the navy at the university of delaware. i just happened to see her on campus. i said then and would say now one of the two loveliest people i think i've ever seen and met. the other being martha carper. i -- not only is she just lovely as joe knows and the rest of us know, not just lovely on the outside on the outside, really lovely, really lovely on the inside, a person with deep caring, a person with incredible warmth and compassion, just a terrific educator.
she taught in our state in our public schools. she taught in a hospital for folks with special needs, talked at delaware technical community college which was selected as the best community college, technical community college in the nation during a time that she was on the faculty there. she continued as second lady, continued to teach. but she started off in pennsylvania. there's a naval air station. i used to fly out of there. i retired as a navy captain in 1991. she was just down the road growing up with her four sisters. jill jacobs and the jacobs girls. i'm sure they broke a lot of hearts. in the case of joe biden, she helped amend one. she helped amend one. as much as anybody, val, your family are hugely supportive and helped you get through a terribly tough time but jill, perhaps, made you whole.
she is -- she got her undergrad i believe from the university of delaware. has two master degrees, ph.d., focused on increased retention at community colleges around the country. and she got those two advanced degrees while working and raising a family. three kids that any of us would be proud to claim our own. last week i happened to be in the classroom in the school where the vice president has probably been to, the elementary school just down the road from the high school. i was in a classroom with a woman named wendy turner who is the delaware teacher of the year. i had a chance to be with her. her kids are grade schoolkids. we gathered around together and sat on a stool. i went around. there were about 25 kids. why is she a great teacher, wendy turner, teacher of the year. they said she loves kids. she loves us. they said she knows her stuff. she really knows what she's talking to us about. she knows how to make it clear
why it's important, like when we leave school and why is it important we learn these things. she believes everybody can learn. everybody can learn. and i thought about her. i think about jill biden today. she's that kind of educator as well, continues to be that kind of educator as well. and a lot has been said today of the cancer moonshot that joe has been leading with great, great skill and success, especially today. but before there was a cancer moonshot, there was joe biden's breast health initiative which has helped thousands of young women, thousands of young women to learn about the importance of early detection for breast cancer. beau went off into the military, the delaware national guard, deployed to iraq. some people, they would send cookies and packages and stuff to their kids and write or send
e-mails, sciep with them. jill -- skype with them. jill decided she was going to take that experience and create delaware boots on the ground to look out for families and later on as second lady working with michelle obama to create something they called joining forces which focuses on education for military families, edition, employment opportunity -- education, employment opportunity, access to well nz services. she managed to write a book from a child's point of view of having a loved one in the family deployed overseas in the military. and as i said earlier, just helped to raise three terrific kids, three terrific kids. sometimes i like to quote maya angelou who sang, i think, at the second inauguration of barack obama and joe biden and passed away not long ago.
maya an lieu said -- maya angelou said something that's appropriate for us today. she said, people may not remember what you said. people may not remember what you do. but they'll remember how you made them feel. they'll remember how you made them feel. and one of the threads through everything that's been said here today really reminds me what maya angelou said because people may not remember what we said. and they may not remember what we do. but there are literally, not just thousands, not just tens of thousands, not just hundreds of thousands, but there are millions of people in this country who will remember how you and jill made them feel. cared for, important, loved. and i know our vice president
likes music, and later on -- there's a british group. i forget -- i think it might have been the beatles and maybe the best rock 'n' roll record ever abby road ends with these lirrics, the last part, side two was largely written by paul mccartney. the last words on the abby road were these words, the love you take is equal to the love you make. you're going to take a lot of love with you and jill as well, far from here for the rest of your lives. god bless you. and with that, mr. president, i always wanted to call you mr. president, with that, mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the vice president: the clerk will cal the roll.
-- will call the roll. a senator: mr. president? the vice president: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i ask the proceedings of the quorum call be vitiated. the vice president: without objection. mr. coons: i would like to vft all my colleague -- invite all my colleagues to join us for a reception in honor of the vice president and i look forward to our presenting we look forward to hearing from you at the reception. with that, i note the absence of a quorum. >> follow the transition of government on c-span as the democrats and republicans repair for the next congress. we will take you to key events as they happen. watch live on c-span and on demand at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app.
announcer 1: this weekend on "american history tv," barry lewis talks about the construction of the brooklyn bridge, why manhattan needed the bridge, and have transportation into the city changed at the turn of the 20th century. >> when the brooklyn bridge was open, it did not put the fairies out of business. they will still -- they were still running at capacity. in the mid-1990's, the city of brooklyn had reached one million people. announcer 1: at 8:00 on lectures in history -- >> that is the interesting thing about country music is that is the music of poor white people. people who are privileged to be white, and i will talk about that in the second, but also people who are underprivileged in terms of their class identity and their economic opportunities. announcer 1: a professor on the
emerging definitions of whiteness and blackness in colonial america and how it impacted the origins of country music. sunday afternoon at 4:00 on "reel america," -- [speaking simultaneously] >> cautious cutbacks, the yours verizon, created evidence this crusade against society's ,reatest enemies may be slowed or level off and fade. this was the climate for the unfinished tasks that faced lyndon johnson on the first of december 1966. announcer 1: the film documents the final month of the year of lyndon b. johnson, his meeting with mexico's president at a dam project, awarding of medal of honor to a marine, and celebrity golf holidays with his family at his texas ranch. at 8:00 on the presidency, the author of madam president, the secret presidency of edith
wilson. she was the second wife of woodrow wilson and buffered access to the president as he recovered from a massive stroke in 1919. for the complete schedule, go to c-span.org. bookk at the latest featured in the weeklong author series from "washington journal." now is tomng us gjelten, author of a nation of nations, a great american immigration story. he is here to talk about the book, examines how america has been transformed in the 50 years following the 1965 immigration act. thank you for joining us today. tom gjelton: thank you. host: tell us what made you embark on this project. tom gjelton: we were coming up on the 50th anniversary of the immigration and nationality act
of 1965. i considered it one of the most important laws passed in the 20th century as far as its effect upon this country, get a lot of people did not know about it. i thought that is a good opportunity. the anniversary was good to take passage of this law, the importance of the law, and most important, how the country has been changed, transformed, in the last 50 years because of this. it opened america's doors to immigrants of color up until 1965, 90% of immigrants were coming from europe, northern and western europe. that was a result of deliberate policy. the aim of the u.s. government was to maintain the united states as a white european country, and the 1965 act did away with that discriminatory policy and put all nationalities on the same basis.
as a result of that, over the last 50 years, america has become a truly diverse country for the first time in its history. 50 years, thenote passage of the act as opposed to three and four immigrants from european countries, as you said, nine of 10 now come from other parts of the world, including vietnam, korea, pakistan, mexico, and central america. talk a little bit about how that change happened and what the impact has been. tom gjelton: there were actually a couple of factors. by the mid-1960's, europe was really prospering and had recovered from the trauma of the second world war. it was doing well economically. the urge to migrate was really reduced, so there was not a great impetus to move to the united states from europe as there had been for the previous 100 years. by that point, the real urge to
move from what we used to call the third world, asia, africa, the middle east. a lot of countries were going through a decolonization. they were becoming independent, there was conflict associated with that. there was more opportunities in terms of global communication and transportation. it was easier to migrate. so there was a great demand in those parts of the world to move to the united states am a reduced demand from europe, and so once the doors were opened in 1965, people just flooded in. kimberly: we are talking to tom gjelten. he is the author of a nation of nations, a great american immigration story. we are talking about have a immigration has changed the federal 1965e immigration act almost 50 years ago. republicans can join the discussion at this phone number.
democrats 742 -- we have a special line for -748-8003.igrants, 202 the pew research center has a graphic that shows how immigration has changed over the course of american history, primarily back to 1850, it is mostly european countries emigrating, coming over. more00, you are seeing immigration in the south from mexico and in the north from canada and places like cuba, but by 2000, immigration is coming largely from mexico and a lot of other countries in the eastern part of the united states like portland.tugal, and san salvador, up until today were you see china in places
like pennsylvania as well as the dominican republic in new england, and more from el salvador, but new mexico is the ingest in a number of states the midwest. talk about these patterns, what led to these specific patterns emerging over the course of that time. tom gjelton: the biggest factor in immigration is actually family connections. so people tend to migrate where they already have relatives living. like the case of my own grandfather who came here from norway, he followed, he came to where his uncle's had come. that was a typical path. you are moving to a strange country, the most comfortable thing is to go where you know people, relatives are living. you see a pattern of chain migration. in some cases, you know, i used to live in mexico, there were villages, entire villages of
mexico that would migrate to a particular village in the united states, because that is where the connections were established. that explains why different nationalities or different cities even or communities and up, people from those areas end up going to a particular place. kimberly: but talk about the 1965 immigration act, what it does, and what was going on at the time. what is the national origin system, and what was its purpose? tom gjelton: the 1965 immigration act needs to be seen as a civil rights act, and it was passed in 1975 -- 1965. the voting rights act was passed in 1965. the fair housing act was passed around the same time. this was a time when the civil rights movement, there was a lot more sensitivity in the country and determination to sort of right some of the historic
wrongs. 1965, the united states had a policy of allocating immigrant visas on the basis of their national origin. it was a deliberate effort to keep the united states as a white european country. if you were somebody from germany or from scandinavia or the british isles, you would have tens of thousands of slots available to you as an immigrant . on the other hand, if you were from any country in asia or africa for the middle east, those countries had a quota, maybe 100 visa slots per year. it was completely unbalanced, discriminatory system. in the midst of this increased awareness of injustice and the determination to end discriminatory policies, the 1965 act eliminated those national origin quotas.
that was the main effect of it. so every country had more or less an equal opportunity. anyone from any nationality had an equal opportunity for the first time. kimberly: talk a little bit about the forces in these other countries, what was happening. had there been a change in the motivation of european as well as people from asia and south america? tom gjelton: just consider africa, for example. there were very few independent countries in africa. they were all colonies, largely of european countries. in the 1960's, a lot of african countries became independent in the first time, but there was also war and conflict associated with those movements. they produce refugees, they produced the desire to get away from violence. at the same time in countries in asia, there were the economies
gradually getting better, and people were seeing opportunities to move that may have been unrealistic before. and then you had -- it was cheaper to move. you had international communication, telephone and so forth. people were able to make contact with their relatives in a way they could not before. all of these forces come together to make international ,igration more practical feasible, then it had been before. we talk about push factors, those are pushing people out of their countries, and we talk about the poll factors. in the united states, the opportunities that were pulling people in, there were a combination of people going out and factors here pulling people in produced this big migratory wave. kimberly: we are joined by tom gjelten, correspondent for npr and the author of a nation of nations, the great american immigration story. owl is calling from ohio. caller: good morning.
, ande got a question another question for the audience. over the last couple of years, how many illegals came into the country compared to the previous five years, and my statement or you need tou know get indian-american on there and find out what happened to them when we let too many illegals come in at one time. it could happen again. thank you. tom gjelton: i'm not sure what you say indian-american you mean native american or somebody from india, an immigrant from india? not clear what you meant. as far as the illegal immigrants to the united states, i don't have those numbers. my understanding and my book is about legal immigration. it is not about undocumented immigration. i'm not an expert on that. my understanding is that the
number of people entering the country illegally, immigrants coming here illegally, actually has reduced in the last 10 years largely because of the economic crisis that came out in 2008. it meant fewer opportunities here, fewer opportunities for the advantage of coming to the united states. a lot of people left during that time. there were a number of years during the last decade where we had net outflow of people. people were leaving, undocumented immigrants were leaving the country. the economy has improved, the numbers of people entering illegally is going back up again. over the last decade, it has been reduced flow is my understanding. kimberly: you said in the book the immigration influx set up a belated american character and
identity. was it strength and resilience as a result of this formation and not merely a nation but a --ion of nations as well as or were its achievements due to the anglo-saxon heritage? did you find an answer to that question? tom gjelton: the idea of the united states from the very beginning is we are a nation open to everyone for everyone can get a fresh start. we are a nation of opportunity. george washington in 1872 -- america will take the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions. this is kind of the idea of america. the plaque at the base of the statue of liberty, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses -- this is the idea we have told ourselves throughout history, but we did not put it into practice. we did not really know as a nation whether we could be as
strong as the claimed to be if we were in fact open to everybody. towas only in 1965 we dared make that commitment. in the last 50 years, i argue in the book we have demonstrated our resilience, capability to be one nation of many nationalities, many national origins, but it was only after 1965 we dared to put ourselves to that test. kimberly: jean is calling from jackson, michigan on the democratic line. caller: good morning. with the events of pearl harbor 1942, my.he spring of lived in kentucky at that time. they would load up 10 or 15 families and their trucks and bring their belongings to michigan where we worked on the farm, and they brought michigan people from mexico up there.
and i am a member now a mexican family. there is five generations of us. they paid the kids 15 and under $.12 an hour, grants got $.50 an hour. -- grown-ups got $.50 an hour. and no one went back after the war, and eisenhower sent thousands of them back in about 1955 or so in there. and right where i live, camp waterloo, they had german prisoners of war there. and they had been working on the farms, and they got paid better than we did, and they was said real good. real good. when you needed them, they were brought here, we don't need them, they want to throw them out, but we would not go. tom gjelton: your family was among mexican immigrants back in
here to work? caller: i was from kentucky and brought up here to work. in the sugar fields, i married into a mexican family, now there is five generations of us. kimberly: let's let tom respond. tom gjelton: his story, as he says, there was up until 1964, program. the basero that means someone who works with their hands in spanish. people of mexicans largely were able to come here legally to work in agriculture for very, very low wages. and actually, that program was eliminated in 1964. there was a feeling among some liberals that we were taking advantage of these people and paying them dirt poor wages, as jean mentioned. the program was eliminated.
the problem is that the demand for those workers continued. so the very same people, largely mexican, who had been coming under in the brasero program legally continued to come work in the same job and places for the same people, but after 1964, they will are illegal because -- they were illegal because the program had terminated. same phenomenon, but from one day to the left -- to the next, someone here legally was all of a sudden illegally. that was the origin of the big move of undocumented people into this country that came as a result of a decision to eliminate this agricultural program worker program. kimberly: we are talking to the author of a nation of nations, a great immigration story. since he began writing this book, now of eligible in paperback, we have had a presidential election where
immigration took a very large role in the discussion not just the issue of illegal but legal as well. compare the discussion happening now over immigration to what was happening in 1965. tom gjelton: actually, some of the debate around the immigration reform that took place in 1965 has now come back again. it is sort of surprising because over the last 50 years, the attention increasingly has been on what to do about people here illegally, should there be mnesty, etc. that was a big part of the election campaign this fall as well. talknow, there was talk -- of donald trump building a wall, deporting people here illegally, but for the first time, it started the question of whether we need to change our laws and allow fewer people to come here legally became an issue.
areknow, right now, we approaching the point that we were at in the beginning of the 20th century when about 30%, 14% of the population was immigrant, born outside the country. it went way down in subsequent 1965, the after percentage of americans born outside started going up again. now we are back at almost that record level. some people are saying it is time to put a brake on this migration into the united states, even those here coming legally. time to change laws, give out fewer visas, do whatever has to be done. one thing that has been talked about is changing the law that bring theirrants to family members here, because that's what it opens the door to ever more numbers coming in. policyo and immigration more like canada, which allocates these is on the basis
of what you can contribute to the economy, your education, skill level. that kind of merit-based immigration policy is one that you are talking about as opposed to -- that people are talking about as opposed to this other one. kimberly: we have a caller on the democratic line. you are on with tom gjelten. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. the previous color had mentioned something to the effect that my question is too, during the past election campaign, we heard a lot about illegal immigration across the border from mexico. i was wondering if you had any on the number of illegal immigrants in the united states from other countries, and people who are of color, because we hear so much about mexico, but i am sure that there are many people who come here on visas
and overstay -- they are illegal . we never hear in the national media much about them. we only hear about mexico. do you have any idea how many immigrants are here that did not come across the border from mexico? tom gjelton: again, this is not my expertise, but i think you are absolutely right. there are actually more people who are here without legal status as a result of having overstayed their visas than there are people who snuck across the border. i think that that is a huge issue. you are right, the people are not mexican or central american. a lot of them would be from much further away, student visas, and then the overstay, maybe they come in some kind of tourist visa maybe and overstay, and a lot of them would be from asia, the middle east, south asia, some from europe as well. you are right.
if we are going to have a fair and complete discussion of the issue of people here illegally, it is important to keep these numbers straight, they are not all mexican or central american. they are not all people have come across the border. building a wall will not keep them out. kimberly: there is a misconception when it comes to legal immigration, exactly were the numbers are coming from and where they are. ,e pointed out in your book people coming from asia and how the numbers have changed. in 1960, there was 11,000 koreans. by 2000, that was 864,000. people from pakistan jet -- to 220 3000.700 india rose from 17,000 to more than one million. talk a little bit about -- tom gjelton: i'm not saying
people are here illegally. only people who came here as a result of the passage of this new law. there are people here legally. this is an example of how america has changed and become as i said, a much more diverse nation than it previously was. and again in my book, i talk in particular about one county here in northern virginia that has really been transformed by immigration and where now, 30% -- this is fairfax county, 30% is born outside of the united states. it is a very prosperous county, one of the richer counties in the united states, and its success generates -- demonstrates that a lot of the new immigrants, new americans are very successful, very productive, very proud of being american and contributing a lot to this country. so for a number of families in this book, their lives and experiences demonstrate that.
kimberly: paul is calling in from clifton heights, pennsylvania. recent immigrant, you are on with tom gjelten. tom gjelton: good morning -- caller: good morning. how is he going edward tom gjelton: good. caller: we were in england first, so we came from jamaica before independence. so the mccarran act kind of stopped us from going to america, we were in england first. we were in england until like the 70's, when the economic crisis started happening over there. so it was like what you have there, the skinheads and the magical plunge, which pushed us to come to america. there is a little bit of unknown history that there is a collaboration between upper-middle-class jewish housewives looking for
housemaids, and many of them who did that work were able to connect with caribbean women who became housemaids. my mother was one. she came and was sponsored by a doctor, a dentist in new jersey like in 1977. we stayed in england until like 1980. we were separated for 3.5 years. we came after afterwards. -- came over afterwards. and the rest of our family, at this point on most everybody is here in america, there is very few people left back in jamaica. i would say that this election though has really -- in all of the years i have been here, i went to college in america -- i actually teach college english and have had a lot of opportunities here in this country, but this last election has me feeling like i felt when i was a young teenager in
england during the 1970's. i think that is a shame. thoughtthat people's about immigrants seems to be battle between the new immigrant and the old immigrants. the old immigrants forget very quickly that they were immigrants a couple of generations ago. weree early 1980's, there a lot of people from the caribbean coming up from jamaica, trying to get away from political violence. some of them got involved with drug dealing. that has tainted all of the caribbean community. that when phil jackson said to lebron james, you and your posse, he did not quite understand what was the problem. maybe if lebron james had been jamaican, he would have tenet as more of a problem. that is one of the names of the drug dealing cartels that came
up here. kimberly: let's give tom gjelten a chance to respond. paul,elton: first of all, i'm not so sure the entire caribbean community has been that tainted. i just actually reviewed a book for the new york times about caribbean culture and the richness of it. and how it has really changed music and literature you know for the whole world, the caribbean influence. people of say that caribbean origin are not necessarily seen as being tainted by the drug trade or something like that. you mentioned a few other points i think are worth underscoring. one is your own family illustrates our immigration policy has been so family centered that one member of a here, gets legal status
he or she has the right to bring over siblings, parents, children, etc.. you get this kind of exponential growth in immigrants by virtue of this family unification, which is a really important principle in u.s. immigration policy. i tell a story in my book of a man from pakistan who came here in the 1960's, got an employment visa, his company brought them over to work in a factory here. and once he was established able to he was then bring over his brothers and sisters and everybody else. by the time 1990's, he had been personally responsible for what hundred people coming here. -- 100 people coming here. his mother came over, and as a result of his mother getting here, other members of extended family were able to come. that is one of the ways that our
immigrant population has grown so much. anticipated you that of my questions. you did focus on fairfax county, virginia. you looked at several people who have come from an array of countries, south korea, libya, bolivia, and others. what made you focus on these individual stories, and what is not just about fairfax and america? tom gjelton: i wanted to sort of chapter the variety of backgrounds immigrants in the united states have. we have here an example of a muslim family from north africa, from libya. we have a family from bolivia in south america, and we have a family from korea. i am trying to represent the diversity of the immigrant flow. these are all people who were first of all willing to share their life stories with me. immigration, moving from one
country to another country can be a pretty traumatic thing. a lot of immigrants don't really want to relive all of the difficulty and stress that is associated with moving to a new country. to find families who were willing to share their did withstories, and i these families. i wanted to find families who were interesting, whose experiences explained some things, told larger stories that you could learn something from them. these are all people who had given a lot of thought of what it means to be american, and when you are talking about a muslim family from libya, a korean family and eight bolivian family, -- a bolivian family, what are their common experiences, and what does it tell us about america and what it means to come to america, how america changes you? these are people that helped me
tell that story, and i am close to them. their stories are in this book. kimberly: karen is calling from fox lake, illinois on the democratic line. caller: thank you for taking my call, and good morning mr. gjelten. i just wondered, i don't know if you answered this question in your book or go into it, but now we are such a diverse culture, a diverse nation with so many cultural influences, how do you think that we can now define ourselves as a nation, what brings us together when we say we are americans? tom gjelton: that is a good question. i would say that it is more of an idea, an ideology, then a matter of your blood and your ethnic background. we had kind of a creed in this
country. there is a certain sort of political idea that we believe in that are summed up in the understanding of what it means to be a citizen. we have the constitution. we have the bill of rights. we have a declaration of independence laid out with a number of intervals, all men being equal. i would say seeing yourself as american is an ideological exercise, where you accept sort of the political idea of what america stands for, and that is in contrast to the ethnic idea ,f what america stands for or it doesn't have to do with your bloodline or your race, your ancestry. it has to do with your commitment to a set of principles, political ideas. that i think is what we can all agree on regardless of our backgrounds. kimberly: john coming in from
connecticut. good morning, john. caller: good morning. you have any statistics on americans living the american dream and migrating to canada? tom gjelton: i don't have any. my guess is more canadians come to america than americans go to canada, but the migration flow between the united states and canada is big, but it is not a story we think of very often when we are talking about immigration. we consider ourselves, we americans and canadians to consider ourselves similar, we live so close together. when people talk about immigrants, they don't think about canadians, and when people talk about immigration and movement, we don't think of going back and forth between the united states and canada.
but it is an international border. the canadians are every bit of an immigrant to this country as people from any other country. i don't have more numbers on that. kimberly: we have some on something else, what the immigration wave will bring going forward. your book talks about the last 50 years. as you pointed out, according to this piece in the chart from pew research, that the immigration levels were about 14% around the turn of the 20th century, dropped down to 4%, 4.8% in the 1960's, now backup to 13.9%, but it is projected by 2065 to be at 17%. tom gjelton: which will be the most ever in the history of the country. kimberly: the upward trend is continuing, but the views of societyion impact u.s. is mixed. what do you predict will happen
as the percentage of people from other parts of the world continues to grow? tom gjelton: i think we are going to see basically a continuation of a trend we have already seen, which is, you more we will see appreciation of other cultures, whether you are talking about whether youligion, are talking about food or dress, you are already much more aware of the diversity in all those areas than we used to be. so i guess, you know, whether it is art or music or anything else, we will be much more aware of the richness of other influences. there could be more conflict. i mean, we have seen that. this has not been one sort of happy trend. you know, over the last 50 years, we saw, we have learned i think that there are a lot of
people that get nervous when they see the country changing this way. you know, they feel they are losing values, values they consider really important. to have different religions, we think of ourselves as being largely a christian nation or judeo-christian nation. when you get a lot of immigration from untraditional areas, you have to rethink some of those things. that can be unnerving, frightening, stressful, produce conflict. i also don't think we can assume these trends that you talk about are going to continue, because there could be changes in our immigration policy that would make it harder for people to come here, in which case you will not reach 17% in 2065. that is assuming laws stay the same and the doors remain as open as they are now. but if there are changes, if we begin for example to allow
tople to come here according what they can offer as opposed to whether they have relatives here, that will reduce the number of people coming in. kimberly: we are talking to tom gjelten, a correspondent with npr. you recently covered new york and military affairs for the pentagon -- were 's lead pentagon reporter during the war in iraq and afghanistan. caller: good morning. in who immigrants coming get benefits, financial benefits when they come in, and when my grandparents came here -- they had nothing. my grandfather had to pay for my grandmother to come here. he had to pay his own way.
he had to financially take care of his own family. benefits are given now to immigrants. when my grandfather came here, he had to speak english to his children. now they don't have to speak english to their children. he was told if he did not speak english, his children would be taken away from him. why aren't we going back to no benefits and teaching people that have to speak english? that is my question. guest: my grandfather came here, too. he had to pay his own way. i think people who migrate now still have to pay their own way to get here. we don't pay people to come here. you are right, there are more benefits for people arriving then there were when your grandparents came or my grandparents came. this is not necessarily the
result in our change of treatment and immigrants. there was not social security when your grandparents came. there wasn't medicare or medicaid. the social welfare system, the safety net was not established for people of limited means. it is not necessarily a change in the way that we treat immigrants exclusively. it is a change in the way that we treat people with low incomes generally. immigrants fall into that category. some immigrants fall into that category. i think there are a lot of immigrants that pay taxes and pay more in taxes than they get back in benefits. even a lot of people, immigrants who are here without papers pay taxes. they are able to work and pay taxes and don't get anything for that. they don't get social security or medicare or medicaid. it is a complicated picture. the other thing is that my
grandfather came here. he did not get any benefits. he was able to stake a claim on land and claim it as his own. there was a whole period in the settlement of america where anybody could stake a claim and homestead a piece of land. an awful lot of immigrants from your grandparents generation and mine benefited from that. times change. the idea of benefits change. benefits our grandparents got are not available to immigrants now. on the other hand, immigrants can get some benefits now that our grandparents did not get. it is a complicated picture. i try not to oversimplify it. host: carlos is calling in from florida on our independent line. you are on with tom gjelten. guest: hey, carlos. host: are you there?
we will move into grade from texas. good morning, greg. caller: good morning. how are you doing? i am so glad for c-span. education is very good. you will hear me? guest: i can hear you. caller: anybody that gets rid of fox news that talks bad about their country and divides people, when i see c-span, you educate people. i don't know why you are not on the regular channels. i appreciate you. thanks to c-span. i cannot read. i cannot write. i am 57 years old. i grew up in an environment where if you don't learn at school, you don't learn. i grew up with hispanics and blacks. i thought they were in the same boat we are. they are not.
we should pull together and stop letting use the white man use us against each other. we voted. the hispanic people don't have your back. you go to the job, they smile in their face and underbid you on everything. they have these babies and get the money, and then they write them off on the income tax. foodhave a wife that gets stamps. they bring these illegals over here and work them like slaves. they treat their own people -- guest: carlos give tom gjelten a chance to respond. guest: you raised an important point. there is a lot of debate on whether immigration is good for the country or not.
how it affects different people. one thing that i think is indisputable you have already pointed out. when you bring in immigrant workers, they will compete for jobs and especially they will compete for jobs that would otherwise go to low income people in this country. the competition is most intense at the low end of the skills ladder. people who do not have a lot of education in this country are more likely to be affected by immigration than people who have a lot of skills and education. to the extent that there is a negative impact of immigration, it falls more heavily on people of low income with low skills, low education. they are the ones who may lose jobs to immigrants who are willing to work for lower wages than they are.
to an extent, that affect is counterbalanced by the number of immigrants who come in with skills and education and are able to play productive roles in the economy. if you look at the economy as a whole, you can make the argument that immigration actually brings economic growth and innovation and is good for the country. stratumook just at that of people at the low income level, therecation is a lot of competition from immigrants as you have found in your own experience. host: we are talking to tom gjelten, the author of a nation of nations: a great american immigration story. immigrationng about since the 1965 immigration act. democrats can call (202) 748-8000.
independents "washington journal" -- independence (202) 748-8002. if you are in immigrant yourself (202) 748-8003. chris is calling from maryland. caller: good morning. i have heard the usa is the most permissive -- has the most permissive immigration policies. i want to ask if that is true. i have found the most resistance against immigrants occurs during economic downturns and when the u.s. is being attacked. holocaust victims, there are stories that they were not admitted. i wonder if that was because they were germans or jewish. andlast part is the hutus were massacred. were they brought over after the massacres? guest: is the united states the
most permissive? i would say that in some ways it in anyone whotake has a family member here who is already a citizen, not just any family member but assembling for example. that means we open our doors to a lot of people. has, asn the other hand i have said, a more skill-based immigration policy. they bring in a lot of immigrants. right now, the percentage of canadians who were born out of canada is higher than the percentage of americans who were born outside of the united states. canada has a pretty permissive immigration policy human though the criteria are very different. -- even though the criteria are very different. go back to the beginning of the
20th century. wasnational origins quota put in place in 1924. that was a period of time when a ert of anti-foreign sentiment was in this country. the ku klux klan was coming back. catholicseven towards in some cases. a period when there was a lot of opposition to foreigners from anywhere just about. that even included people who were fleeing the holocaust, jewish refugees who found it hard to come to the united states for many years. that is to the shame of our country. genocidal warser in the years since. you mentioned the fighting in central africa that resulted in
a lot of hutus and tutsis fleeing that violence. in the horn of africa in somalia and ethiopia, a lot of violence there. we have people fleeing. you have people fleeing from syria. people fleeing from afghanistan. throughout history when you have oneviolence and conflict, result is a large refugee flow. the united states for the most part has been pretty accommodating to refugees. periodically, there is a feeling that we should not take in any more refugees. that is not just a recent phenomenon. that is something that has been, as you have pointed out, we have seen throughout our history. host: something you pointed out in the book, akin to the impact on lower wage workers here, the fact that you call it the immigration act a civil rights
act passed with other civil rights measures. you pointed out that the influx of immigration sometimes conflicted with other civil rights issues. in places like their backs where racial segregation had been the role, it created conflict. no standard get black residents when a measure of justice than the common sense competing for scarce resources with newly arrived immigrants. guest: fairfax county is an interesting story. it is in northern virginia in the metropolitan d.c. area. it is much more tied to the south. there was segregation in fairfax county and throughout virginia. that area, that community had to go through a desegregation process, which can be traumatic. african-americans lived in segregated neighborhoods and
went to segregated schools. they only got improvements in their services by fighting for them. actually --ce they i tell this story of a group of african-americans in fairfax county that finally got a community center built for their children and community activities. no sooner was it built then immigrants were coming in and using it. immigrants have not fought for it. they do not work for years to get it established. once it was established, they started taking advantage of it. a lot of people said wait, we have to fight for this and now we have to share this with people who did not fight for it. that story is indicative of the tensions that arise in communities where you have changing populations. our independent line in texas.
caller: good morning. my name is men well. -- manuel. texas did not become a state until a few years ago. guest: quite a few years ago. caller: i am latin. i am latino. when i grew up, i grew up in texas. texas was already estate. state. mexico about 160 years ago. i did not know any english. i went to school and learn my english and came out a pretty smart person. , i remembercourse all these people that started coming from mexico. i already knew how to speak english. i had a rough time learning and
growing up. here is my deal. these immigrants,. and do not know any english. i already know my english. i already know the traits that i learned. i have to teach these guys the english language and what to do and what not to do. let tom gjelten response. guest: your story is one that characterizes a lot of the history of this country with newcomers coming in and having to find their own way and achieve whatever they have been able to achieve as you have, learned which. learnms like you have -- a which. seems like you have a responsibility to help those that have come after you. it is to your credit that you have done that and share your skills and teach these newcomers.
the you feel at times like it is unjust. maybe you feel like there was nobody there for you when you are having to go through that period. you said it was a rough time. it is your credit that you are in a position to help those people and it reflects very well on you. host: you were a reporter at the pentagon on 9/11. how do you think that the 9/11 attacks affected the view on u.s. immigration policy? guest: i have a family from libya in this book. they are at about muslim family. i wanted to make sure one of the families i profiled was muslim. islam is the fastest growing religion in the u.s. right now. immigrants from muslim majority countries are coming. they meet all the other criteria that other immigrants have.
aboutis a lot of anxiety -- and misunderstanding of islam as a religion and nervousness about that. 9/11nk in the aftermath of , in these 15 years since, we have seen that. -- trabeen a dramatic umatic experience for many muslim americans. there are many non-muslim americans that are nervous and confused about what it means to be a muslim, and where are your loyalties. i wanted to explore the experience in this country of a muslim family. everybody who is listening, watching the show now, knows how many issues there have been around extremism and islam and
radicalism and religious violence. it is a troubling issue. from ronald is calling in new york on our democratic line. caller: good morning. phraseu used the popular that all men are created equal. in what sense do you mean this? albert einstein was an immigrant to the united states. legally, of course. i have never known anyone beginning to be equal to einstein in any way. have you? guest: you know that is not my phrase. that is thomas jefferson's phrase. that is in the declaration of independence. as you know also, i don't think even thomas jefferson meant that literally. people -- allow black
were not considered equal to other people. that was kind of an idealistic statement or unrealistic statement at the time. i am not sure exactly what thomas jefferson had in mind. it is kind of an ideal we have aspired to. it is an ideal that we would like to leave even though we have not always put it into practice. i think it is an important principle, and it is a principle that this country has been built on. i would say it has taken us 250 years to get to the point where we are actually beginning to put that into practice. i think it is good for the country to have an ideal to aspire to. this notion that all people are created equal is a pretty good principle to base a country on. tom is calling in from new york on our democratic line. caller: good morning.
thank you to c-span. i would say this statement is not true. i believe in immigration. i believe in legal immigration, not illegal immigration. that is the problem we have in our country. we have been flooded by illegal immigration by the hundreds of thousands. have 26 taxpaying americans working for me of all nationalities. illegal aliens came in and under get my prices and put my guys out of work and start my country -- company of work. i cannot survive anymore. they are flourishing. i'm going under. nobody seems to care. guest: that is a story that certainly resonates with a lot of americans. as i have said over and over, my book is actually about a
decision by the american people and american government to open doors wider to allow more people to come in legally. it is entirely about people who are here legally. one of the things i learned in the course of writing this book is that a lot of people who did come legally don't have tremendous sympathy for those who came outside the system. they had to wait in line. i'm sure that some of the people you have employed have those stories. you can take and usually does take years to get your visa approved save connection to come here. you do have to wait in mind that -- line. i think there is frustration and lack of sympathy over how many people have come here outside the system. i think the feelings you have are ones that even a lot of immigrants would share.
i am sorry you have had this experience. that is a difficult thing to go through. i am glad you shared your story with us. host: brian is calling in from washington state on our independent line. good morning. caller: good morning, "washington journal." happy holidays. am calling in regards to my wife and i both have great grandmothers from norway. in the migration and family history. i think that is something people need to remember. it is something you talk around the holiday table. the upcoming generation gets to learn stories that are passed on as civilizations and cultures do . i will like to ask the guest
what his opinion of the migration that is coming from puerto rico due to their financial chaos. 1000 puerto ricans a week, not considered immigrants, but coming to the united states as u.s. citizens with no vetting. this seems to be something that is not being discussed at all. guest: the reason it is not being discussed is because they are not immigrants. puerto rico is not a state, but puerto ricans are u.s. citizens. situationimilar during the depression when people from what was called the dust bowl in the south were migrating to other parts of the united states, california or example where there were more employment opportunities. you saw the same thing with african-americans migrating to
the cities from the south. we are talking about migration from one part of the country to another part of the country the cusp there are different economic opportunities. you are right, puerto ricans are going through a terrible financial system right now, but those people have every right to move to some other part of the country where there are more jobs. do talk about setting -- we not vet people who move from one part of america to another tear it that is their right as americans, to move. i do not see how we can institute some kind of special policy for people from puerto rico who want to move to some part of the united states to find work. ,ost: all right, tom gjelten thank you s>> "washington journ" continues. host: joining us is ceo of
public religion research institute and author of "the end of white christian america," robert jones, here to discuss his book. deals with the politics and social values of our country. thanks for joining us. explain to our viewers what the public religion research institute is. guest: yes, we go by our acronym, prri, but we are a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research organization that specializes in doing mostly public opinion research at this intersection of culture, religion, and politics. asks ther book question, is it the end of white christian america? what do you mean i white christian america? guest: it may be helpful to start with what i do not mean.
i do not mean the end of all white christians in this country, nor do i mean the end of all white christian churches in the country. what i do mean and what the book is really talking about is the cultural shift we have had in the country, and when i use the words white christian america, i mean this really dominant cultural edifice that was built primarily by white protestants in the country, not even by catholics. at the kind ofck stereotype of the cultural center of the country being white, anglo-saxon protestant, this waspy cultural center, that is what i am talking about that we really have seen the end of as the country has grown more and more diverse. findingsone of the key in the book is that we have already moved from being, just demographically, over the last eight years, we have gone from
an majority white christian nation, going back to 2008 when 54% of the country was white and christian, and today that number is 43%. we have crossed this threshold of being a majority white christian nation to a minority white christian nation. at a whiteis looking christian country, saying it is now a minority. 43% of the country is made up of white christians. try 4% nonwhite christians. -- 24% nonwhite christians. 23% unaffiliated. in what ways have we seen a change in the cultural paradigm, based on the diminishing numbers of white protestants in the united states? ofst: you see the big wedge the religiously unaffiliated, the other end of the story. as the number of white christians has come down, part of that is an immigration story
and the changing ethnic composition of the country, but the other part of that is that white christians are disaffiliated, especially young people, from christian churches. that has accelerated this trend. one-quarter of americans claim no religious affiliation whatsoever. if you look at younger people, it is nearly four in 10 young people that claim no religious affiliation today. most of that shift has come from white questions -- christians in the country. host: an excerpt from your book says the american demographic, cultural and religious, is being remade, but while the country is shifting, racial dynamics alone are a source of apprehension for many white americans. it is the disappearance of white christian america that is driving their strong, sometimes apocalyptic, reactions.
host: what do you mean by that? guest: for so long, the and white and christian has been central for what it has meant to be america. after barack obama's reelection, i received this email that had this black and white photo of a white christian family and prayer around the dinner table, and it was a lament about losing white christian culture with the reelection of our first african-american president. for many, barack obama was a symbol of this changing landscape. the rising number of latinos and people speaking spanish was part of the realization. and many older white christians are looking at their pews, and they see the sea of heads that
is more and more gray. more numbers of young people are leaving white christian churches. host: we are with robert jones about his new book, "the end of white christian america or coke republicans can call 202-748-8001. democrats, 202-748-8000. independents, 202-748-8002. the book talks about white christians, but you focus on product is -- you focus on protestants. why leave out catholics? believe it ist leaving them out, but the tribe cultural force has been the world of white prodded to -- white protestants. going back to the mid-20th it wouldin the 1950's, not be unusual to go to a country club and see a sign, or at least in the policies, the people not allowed,
african-americans, jews, and catholics. catholics have often been excluded from the story, and only recently have those barriers actually come down. host: ok. and you talked about age a little bit as another sharp difference. prri talks about white christians by age. we look at people over the age of 65. 65% are white christian. down to millennials, the folks between 18 and 29, it is less than one-quarter of them that identify that way. tell us what is happening. guest: i like to look at this chart as an archaeological dig through generational strata. as you dig down, you see that it is linear. you can draw a line to these generational trends. and that is just a snapshot of americans living today by
generations. in ais a big change generations-time. -- and a clue as to why has sent shockwaves through american culture. this happened very quickly. talking about the demographic trend, and the last hour we were talking about the effect of immigration on the country -- is that part of it? is it because fewer people are identifying as christian? is it that there are fewer whites? or is it a combination of both? ofst: it is a combination both. certainly, immigration has been a factor. but that has been flat or even negative over the past few years. one of the things i talked about a lot is birthrates, so lower birthrates among whites compared to nonwhites in the country. fuelhing that pours
on this fire is young people leaving white churches and becoming nothing, becoming religiously unaffiliated. host: robert jones, founding ceo of the public religion research institute, talking about his book, "the end of white christian america." from thousand in oaks, california, on our independent line. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call, and happy holidays. i do say happy holidays, because i am neither white or christian. my religion, hinduism, this is really nothing holiday season for us. just something appointed out, because -- just something that i pointed out, because we had our holiday office party a couple days ago, but our holiday season was a couple months ago. in your book, sir, did you examine the growth of other religions? did you call out religions such
as hinduism? it is important in the modern-day context, because a get misidentified as muslim because of the turbine, etc. guest: yes, where you would find in the buddhists, are wedge of other religions in the country. it has been growing and the country over the last few decades. one of the challenges with public opinion research is that in your typical political poll or public opinion poll, it has about 1000 people in it. if you have a group the makes of 1% or 2% of the population, and jews make up 2% of the country, there is never quite enough for analysis. it is one of the real challenges of public opinion research as we
have growing numbers but not studies, enough for unless they are specialized studies focusing on that group, which is very expensive here at those are few and far between. but from the holiday party thing, i think it does to the cultural divides we are feeling and the country and defensiveness that many white christians are feeling around this. we put out a poll last week about this very thing. orwe say happy holidays merry christmas? this so-called war on christmas kind of gets revved up every year at this time. it is really about this changing demographic. you're not quite sure whether you can say merry christmas to everyone on the street. we found the country divided right down the middle on whether, for example, the question was whether store clerks should greet customers with merry christmas or with happy holidays at a respect for those not celebrating holidays at this time. to this, the way it
falls out in our politics, is that republicans and democrats ends of theite spectrum. two-thirds of democrats say happy holidays at a respect for those who do not celebrate christmas. of republicans say, no, no, we should say merry christmas. host: talking about the politics of this, as we have often discussed on this show, white protestant made up a big part of the electorate who helped propel presidentialto a victory. at the same time, according to another prri chart, it talks about how the percentage of people who voted for a democratic presidential candidate over the past several cycles, whereas black protestants were voting as much recent years,t in but on the other end, you have white evangelical protestants who vote less than one-quarter
percent of the time in recent elections. guest: that chart has the last several election cycles, and it shows kind of a consistency. it does not change that much from year to year. that is pretty remarkable, given the candidates that have been running have been very different. really is party that provides the stability. the one remarkable thing to me is that, since reagan, if you want a shorthand for understanding the religious landscape in politics, it is that white christian groups tend to lean toward or strongly support republican candidates, and everybody else in the country, nonwhite christians, non-christian religious groups, religiously unaffiliated lean toward or strongly support democratic candidates. that is the divide we have been living with since reagan, and the democratic party became the party of civil rights. whites in the south went to the republican party, and that is
the divide we have been living with all this time. host: we have a call from houston, texas, on our democratic line. caller: praise the lord, and good morning. i am a minister and a person who loves jesus christ, and i do not feel that we should honor anybody else's religion as far as whether we say merry christmas or happy holiday. that part, i do. however, i do want to say that it is laughable about mr. robert jones. clan, --ay few clucks why not say kkk, period? i am in the brown skin, but i am a jew. i have been part of the kingdom of the living god. you cannot be a real priest and sit up there talking about whites, because color has nothing to do with god. host: let's let mr. jones respond.
guest: it is interesting. this kind of theological point, which i hear a fair amount. i appreciate the argument being made. as a social scientist, when you actually look at the behavior of persons in the country, one of the reasons why virtually every social scientist and political scientist that studies the itigious landscape sorts using race and religion is because of the political behavior and beliefs and values veryite christians are different than african-american christians or latino christians are asian-pacific islander christians. one of the interesting pieces of is howrican landscape very similar beliefs, like african-american protestants and white evangelical protestants share three-quarters of the theological beliefs, like the virgin birth, a literal view of the bible, these kind of things,
a literal heaven and hell, are all shared, but when he gets refracted through the experience of race, they go to very different places in terms of public policy. that has been true in the aretry, for those who ministers like the previous caller, noting that difference does raise some interesting and perhaps troubling theological questions. host: at a postelection campaign forum last month, a gop pollster discussed the shrinking the burr of white americans and -- shrinking number of white americans and race overall. [video clip] of peoplean half being born in the country and younger kids are nonwhite. there will be an incredibly sharp change. we have today the highest number of people born outside the country since 1880.
we have the highest number of people speaking a language other than english in literally the last 80 years. i believe america is founded on a principle, and we are stronger because of this incredible influx of new people. every wave of immigration in this country has led to social tension, dislocation, kind of a battle. guess what has been the happy icon over a generation? our country's capacity to assimilate people and to function as a nation. i believe that will happen over time. we are watching the same dislocation that took place at each different time of these immigration waves. and i think there is a right noe of history, and that is
party is going to survive in this country for very long as a white party. if you do not find a way to have some inclusive message and some capacity to motivate people around these divisions, you are not going to survive as a majority party. host: talk a little bit about that in terms of cultural power in america. if this is a shrinking group, isn't it more important to focus more broadly? guest: it is a republican pollster talking, and one of the things i wrote in the book is exactly this point. the republicans themselves in lost, did mitt romney some soul-searching and determined exactly what he is saying here, that unless they brought in the tent, the long-term future of the party was really at stake. if you go back from the 1990's to the present, republican presidential candidates, whether they win or lose, their coalitions are about
80% white christian voters. net is even as that proportion has been declining. they have been remaining reliant on a shrinking group of voters. democrats have been moving with the times, so bill clinton's coalition in the 1990's was about two-thirds white and christian, but barack obama's in 2012 was only 7%. so this gap between the two parties has become a norm us. enormous.ome i was skeptical that a candidate like donald trump did run a campaign that would double down on white christian voters as a winning strategy. i liken this to kind of a hail mary pass. it was highly unlikely but occurred. it ishat means is that not a long-term strategy, right? if you win your final football game by throwing a hail mary pass into the end zone and your guy happens to catch it, you do
not want to hold onto that as you are playing for the next playoff game. that is a very unlikely strategy for long-term success. calling in from asheville, north carolina, on our republican line. caller: hi, how are you doing? host: great. you are on with robert jones. aller: i just wanted to say kind of unusual viewpoint. i did not endorse donald trump. i really appreciated the christian preacher, martin luther king, jr. i thought it was awesome, his last words in memphis about the coming of the lord, because god is a god of justice and truth. saying all that, and my one comment is that i really wonder if there is less white christians because they have been monitored, -- mar
tyred, and that is what i wonder. it is sad that people have not been taught right about what god is all about. guest: thank you for that comment. i think if you mean literally killed, i do not think we have much evidence for that. what we do have a great amount of evidence for is that young people have essentially been looking to the exits of churches. there are a couple factors. we have asked young people who were raised religious and then left, and most of them leave before the age of 20, so it is a very early decision for those who left, and when we asked why they left, we hear a couple things. iny say they stop believing the supernatural teachings of the religion, the virgin birth, those kinds of things, the religious teachings of dogma. is other thing that comes up
more than one-third of young important that a very reason why they left was because of negative teachings or negative treatment of gay people. among conservative white churches, that has been a point of contention with younger generations that are very supportive of gay rights. host: next is james from mississippi on our independent line. morning.es, good how are you all doing? host: doing good. , what is yourbert denomination? up in jackson, mississippi, not far from you. i grew up southern baptist. say thatk, i heard you this particular race is beginning to decline, but isn't that true for most of the
denominations, a lot of them are beginning to decline? also, the decline is not necessarily because of the denomination of white, because a lot of the people you are talking about are so tired of the fraud and hypocrisy that goes on in these religious organizations, and a lot of them are just fed up with it. it is not just white, as you say , but there are african-americans, hispanics, you name it. they are tired of being labeled, rather than being filled with the holy spirit, and the teachings in these churches that the young people are turning away from, what you are saying, into satanism and these other .rganizations
they are worshiping all other kind of things, and that is because of the way you are approaching this conversation, talking about white. it is like you are putting racism in it. host: let's give robert jones a chance to respond. guest: thanks for the comment. that thereere is actually are differences. let me be clear that the reasons and most other social scientists, it is not unique to this book -- it is a pretty common practice -- to really look at religious groups by religious affiliation and race in the country is mostly because they behave on the grounds so differently. you go to api, white church or african-american church, and you see what those people in the church is do.
they look really different from one and another, and that is why we study them in different categories. at the macro level, we do see differences here. among asian-american pacific islander churches, latino churches, they are actually growing in this country. we see those standing. african-american churches, over the past few decades, are basically holding their own. general replacement. not growth but not great decline. the really great decline is really among white to moment -- white denominations, both catholic and protestant. host: we are talking with robert jones, founding ceo of the public religion research institute and a columnist for the atlantic. he is talking about his new book "the end of white christian america." you pointed out, on the issue of younger people, that a lot of factors is driving this, including support for
same-sex marriage. putsf the reports in prri the percentage of americans who are white christian versus the percent of americans who favor same-sex marriage, and the two have been reversing course, particularly during the obama administration, whereas, before there were 32% of americans in 2004 who favored same-sex marriage, while nearly 60% identified as white christian. same-sexy 60% support marriage and 43% identified themselves as white christian. guest: the reason why i put those on the same chart is because i think if you want to understand the kind of white christian anxiety we saw in this chart goescle, that a long way toward explaining it. you think of yourself as , white christian,
conservative, these trends are fairly fast and alarming. if you go back to popular in cycles, only four in 10 americans supported same-sex marriage. today that is six in 10 that supported. if you go back to 2008, if you were in service of white christian, you were a majority demographically, and a majority of the country agreed with you on same-sex marriage. today, neither of those things are true. you are no longer a majority of the country, and the majority of the country disagrees with you on this kind of flagship issue for many white evangelical christians, gay marriage, a very symbolic issue. we talk about the feeling of vertigo for many white christians as to what has happened in the country. ?hat has happened to my country that is the way it comes out too many of them. host: jamie is calling on our
democratic line. you are on with robert jones. caller: i am a white christian. like the lady said earlier, i do not see color when it comes to religion and christianity. it is a believe in jesus christ, the lord and savior. and the decline, and is all the millennials and the decline. -- decline has been getting changing as time goes on. for me, i look at mtv and a lot of the popular media pushing a lot of that. it would take too long to explain. but it is like america was americaon god, and
is a melting pot. it is for everybody. the religion, it is like now if you try to voice your religion, it is so serious and hateful in a lot of ways. it is just, i don't understand a lot of people's views. i am a democrat, but i was for donald trump. it was completely based on because i thought he was more for the evangelicals. and i hear the thing about, you know, about the same-sex that y'all are talking about. they think it is so normal and right. if the world was full of same-sex people, it cannot last. no reproduction. it is a contradiction in itself. i just want to say one thing, that jesus christ is the son of will bow tory knewe
him one day. guest: thanks for that, interesting. a democrat from kentucky, evangelical, voted for trump. , but i appreciate the call one thing i hear and that is, you know, i don't understand these changes in the country. i do not like these changes in the country. and that was one of the things that pushed me to trump here at one of the things i have argued, to explain one of the biggest mysteries in the election, was why 81% of white evangelical newrs voted for trump, a high water mark for support for a republican president. he does not really fit this will -- the so-called values voter. did not really have a history with churches. it was an odd fit. yet, there is the high water mark of the so-called value
voters. trump was successful in the sickly converting values voters into what i call nostalgia voters. voters wasgroup of fully looking back, right, make america great again, and the last word was the most powerful part of this, looking back to a valuesen white christian had more control, more prominence in the country, and when things like same-sex marriage and more women in the workplace and civil rights, and all that stuff, that is part of what happened here. trump made this appeal to turn back the clock and kind of turn the tide on many of these cultural changes that white evangelicals found very uncomfortable. host: let's look and an excerpt from your book that talks about that point. t says --
host: talk a little more about that. sections is in the called the social world of white christian america, describing some texture to it. earlier, you tied some trends together, and i often say it is a world where you could walk down the street and say merry christmas and not think anything of it. but i think it was a very insular world.
it was also a world that was only visible from the inside. if you were white and christian, that is what the world look like. if you were african-american, that is not what the world look like in the 1950's for sure. if you are white, it was a fairly comfortable place to be. as it has been broken down, it has been challenged and dismantled in many ways. it is part of this sense of cultural vertigo that many white evangelicals are feeling now. many of the touch stones are not there. even the ymca is now does going by y, dropping the men's association part of that. the masonic lodge membership has gone way down. but i think it really is this sense of a lost cultural world and this deep sense of nostalgia that is driving a lot of the anxiety we are seeing in our politics. host: floyd from virginia is on our republican line. caller: thank you for taking my
call, c-span. robert, you are really quoting the bible there, because this is the end days that we are living right now. see one-third of god's children following satan, so they are here now. they was born into this. satan is on his way back. toope everybody has a pen write down 1-800-643-645 or go to shepherdschapel.com to learn the truth. host: do you have a question for robert jones? caller: i am commenting. the comment is, i mean, it is bible, one-third of god's children follow satan. days, now in these last and they are here to follow satan. they are here now.
jesus was not born in december. he was born in september. he was conceived in december, for all you abortion people. you are celebrating his conception. and youo that website, can find all this information out. host: let's give robert jones a chance to respond. guest: so the end days, right, the apocalypse, very literally a reference to the apocalypse. i think the reasons why this election felt so divisive is people onn many ways, the conservative side of politics, it did feel kind of apocalyptic. one survey we had before the election, we asked what people made of these changes. just had, hiswe interpretation of the changes as there literally the end of the world. we ask americans, do you think
the american culture and the way of life has changed for the better or for the worse since 1950's? the country is evenly divided, right down the middle. half the country thinks the country is change for the better, and half the country thinks it has changed for the worse. two-thirds of democrats say it has changed for the better. two-thirds of republicans say it has changed for the worst. no group says it has changed for the worst more than white evangelical protestants. three-quarters of them say things have changed for the worst since the 1950's. it really is an interpretation of the end of the world. democrats say, no, no, we are moving into a golden age maybe and things are getting better in our country. host: talk more about the differences between 2016 and 2012 and the election. romney, you had mitt
mormon, and his faith was a big part of his story and his life, and he did not say or do the things we saw donald trump do in did not election, which align with a lot of religious principles, and why he resonated with the folks -- talk about culture and economics, how that plays into this. you did an interview with jennifer region from the washington post, and you said many white even tickle -- even evangelicaly white protestants and white voters, they talked about a lost cultural world. trump's promise is that if he is elected, the factory gates will reopen. the boards will come down off the storefront windows, the pews will be filled, and america will know their place again. talk about how his message
differed so much from governor romney's. to say thatre right -- this is one of the reasons why romney was one of the critical people of trump during the election. scorching speech about donald trump right toward the end of the election, so you could not get more attention than you had between these two people. vote chartok of the and it is not that different. vote fore evangelical mitt romney, donald trump got 81%. i think it goes to the power of partisanship, just how tribal, many religious groups, particularly those strongly on one side or the other. african-american protestants, being democrat has become part of the identity.
for white evangelical, it is part of their identity to be republican. i think the way that donald and no onesed this, is more surprised by this than expected-- he really evangelicals were really going to be the way he beat donald trump. but across the south, donald trump handily beat him. cruz was talking about getting religious exemptions from these gay rights laws, smaller policy things, and trump up was saying that we're going to turn back the clock. he promisedme way to bring back factory jobs in indiana or bring back call mining jobs to kentucky or build a wall between the u.s. and mexico, he was also making explicit promises when you just evangelical audiences to say i am going to fill the pews again and churches will have more power when i am president.
these were very big promises. i do not see any levers for many of them to get done. nonetheless, if you are in that world, a conservative white christian in kentucky, donald trump hit a lot of the points you really care about. even if there is no immediate way to deliver on those points, he was speaking to concerns and anxieties in a way that hillary clinton was never able to do. host: sabrina from tennessee on our independent line, hello. caller: hi, i grew up in the bible belt. i grew up pentecostal. now i practice my native american ways. i have left the church. the reason why i think a lot of people have left the church is because the church is very judgmental when it comes to people being different.
a lot of young people are addicted to drugs and have difficult lives, and the churches are not very understanding when it comes to that. i think that is why the younger people have left the church. but in our country, the white christians have always pretty much had a lot of power in our political system. but i think the reason why everybody rallied behind trump is because our government has become very oppressive. we have a child support system that much takes all of our money. we have the court system that also gets a big chunk of our money. we have our factories closing and going to other countries because we are too expensive to employ. i think that is what america is tired of. we are tired of having blocks put in our way. being beatenof down with an "i can't"
stick. there are so many blocks and the young american's life that we have to overcome just to break even. i think that is why everybody is tired of hillary, and that is why they voted for trump. host: let's get reaction to that. is pain and struggle, and i think that is true. one of the things we saw in some of our data into the election was that the economists were saying we are out of the recession and the economy has recovered, job reports look good, macro indicators that we were not in the great recession of 2008. but when we asked everyday americans whether they thought we were still in recession or not, 72% of them said yes, we're still in recession. there is a disconnect between macro indicators and what people are feeling on the ground in terms of economics, and that role. a huge
there is this economic struggle, and she mentioned drug addiction. one of the things of the sort of white middle america is experiencing that people are just getting their heads around is this opioid addiction that has decimated white working-class communities in the midwest and the south, particularly in rural areas. it has broken up families and marriages. people have lost jobs. even the jobs that were there. so it has been a really tough time economically. and then on top of that, there are these big cultural changes, and it is a pretty volatile mix. she is right. even if people had misgivings about donald trump, they reached for him as a mechanism for change. something had to change, and maybe he might do it. host: from the book put together by prri show the states were white christians remain
dominant, with more than 50% of all the way from the west, from idaho toward most and most of this -- you call this the near south. placesolinas, virginia, where they had a much bigger stronghold in the past are not so much anymore. talk about that. guest: this surprised even me a little bit. what that map is is the density of white christians. the states with higher proportions of white questions are not the deep south. there the upper midwest, all those states. that map has nothing to do with politics, but if you overlaid the states where donald trump did better than mitt romney did, the biggest movements are in those states.
when we did a correlation, we looked to see the correlations between white working-class people in those states and the density of white christians in those states, and a stronger votelation between trump's is the density of white christians in those states. yes, it is class, but it is also culture. the upper midwest and appalachia, and, west virginia, up into pennsylvania, and another one you can lay over that is opioid addiction and death, it would look similar to this. host: we have a call from ohio on our democratic line. caller: good morning. i am a 68-year-old white woman who was born again at 19 in a pentecostal church. we still believe you must be born again. we also believe that being
filled with the spirit is not an option. it is something that god asked us to do, to stay in jerusalem. you can deal with it whatever you want. but i say that the day after the rapture, the churches will be completely packed to far overcapacity. and the reason why we americans have had such a great falling away is because the bible says that we will have a great falling away. ours nobody's fault but own. we have allowed capitalism to be our god when we should have allowed the king, jesus, to be our god. we followed the good old yankee dollar, instead of following the rules of christ and what we're supposed to do for our neighbor. and yes, sir, i am my neighbor's keeper. it is my responsibility, as a
born-again christian, to do whatever it takes to lift up my neighbor. if that means i have to lift him up 10 times, the bible says that i should forgive somebody for an occurrence seven times seven times a day, for the same occurrence. that means i have to have a christlike spirit, not only on sunday when they go to church him and i teach sunday school, or when i take care of the nursery or one ago when on wednesday and teach a class, but that means also when i am at work, when i am at my business, when i am shopping, when i am driving. host: ok, let's give robert a chance to respond. guest: i appreciate the window into your world. one of the things i hear is multiple touch points with church. sunday or wednesday or doing volunteer activities. this is one of the things that churches have historically done, been a kind of social hub.
at the end of the book -- i begin with an obituary for white christian america, but i end it with a eulogy where i am thinking about the meaning and coming to the end of this social world. one of the critical things, one of the things i worry about is that white christian churches and protestant churches have served as points of community. they have been launching pads for all kinds of terrible activities. whereave been places people have been plugged into civic engagement, registering to vote and other kinds of things. one of the things people will have to figure out is that younger people are still less likely to vote than older people are. , one ofe, historically the ways people have been plugged into civic engagement is through religious institutions.
but as fewer young people are plugged into those institutions, how do they get cynically engaged? what are the mechanisms going to be? historically, they have been churches. that is still an open question as to how younger people are going to organize or not to maybe they will not. let's focus on white christian america. is there any way that that focus can be helpful? you talk about civic engagement. there is also civic engagement done through black churches and other groups, islamic groups. is this, in any way, a negative, to focus on just white christian americans and not faith more broadly? guest: every book has to pick which story to tell. one of the things i wanted to do was to focus on this world, and the reason why is because it had
such cultural dominance at one point, really through most of our recent history. itre is a historian who put this way, in the middle of the 20th century, 1940's, if you were in charge of something big and important in america, chances work you were white and male and protestant. that is not the way it looks today. there is the story of the decline of this world and the kind of vacuum it has left in its wake. i think that is where we are in the country. one of the important things it has told is really the source of some of the anxiety we have seen, particularly on the conservative side of politics, among white evangelical protestants as they feel that loss of power and influence. is there another book to be written amount -- around african-american churches and where they are?
there is an explosive growth of latino churches. absolutely, that is going to absolutely shift the landscape. even in places like north carolina -- we do not really think about the latino culture there, but there is a vibrant latino culture there today. host: a call on our republican line for mississippi. good morning. caller: good morning. what i wanted to a dress is it sounds like there is a little bit of bias in your treatment and the ideastians that they are looking for of oldia and the culture . instead, i think we're looking for a return to values that matter, that last, not just something that used to be a something that ought to be.
does that make sense to you? guest: sure. the thing about the book is it really is a database book. there is a lot of evidence base we have not gotten into. at the 1950's question is pretty stark reminder that, yeah, the values that last, values that matter, absolutely -- in some ways, i think that is what everyone in the country is looking for. but what i think has happened, and i say this as a man who is white and christian from mississippi myself, but for many white evangelical christians, those values are embedded in a social time and a social place, and they tend to be embedded accurate looking. even in the language the caller used, they used the word return. it is not sort of something new but something to go back to. i think it often gets played that way, as a revival, return,
backward looking. it is a sort of cultural loss. that is the thing i am trying to hold up to the mirror. cultural is a story of loss for many white evangelical christians, particularly in the south. i think coming to terms with that loss is really what the book is about. host: to what extent is the change attributed to or does it involve race or even racism? you talk about going back to a distant time and a 1950's, pre-civil rights act, before the transformation that the country really had based on race and civil rights. guest: yeah, one of the things i came away from the book with was centralse of just how race relations and the history of racism in the country have been for political life and our religious life and the country.
isost every denomination split over the civil war, for example. southern baptists and the american baptist have still not reconciled. southern baptists are still in the south and american baptists are still in the northeast. that is the civil war divide. it was actually over a missionary, whether a missionary andinted could own slaves, the south said yes and the north said no. that was the divide. in our politics, the way we get the lay of the land between republicans and democrats is essentially the 1955 civil rights act. before that, you can find more democrats in the south. it used to be the solid democratic south. and then there was the great white switch that happened post-civil rights. the democratic party became the party of civil rights. there was a plan put in place by republicans, the southern strategy, to attract whites
using race as a wedge. the structure of our churches and politics is already done up with the history of race in the country. i hope the book puts that on the agenda. host: ok, bill is calling from pennsylvania on our independent line. caller: hello. impact on -- [indiscernible] my question goes with the polls of the young unaffiliated people. did you ask them about their parents and how strong their religious faith is? are they regular churchgoers? something asked of the young unaffiliated? host: i will let you answer with a few seconds.
guest: great question to it we had a report in august called exodus, and we did ask about their parents. it actually is the second thing that makes the difference here. if they say that their parents and when they were raised were not that religious, that is the second most powerful reason why they end up not being affiliated in the next generation. the other two factors are divorce and having two parents of different religions. those are also factors in the next generation being unaffiliated. host: robert jones, author of "the end of white christian america," thank you for joining us today and talking washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you.
the christian science monitor washington bureau chief on her recent article "how donald trump is already remaking the presidency." hugh -- she will discuss his relationship with the new congress. author of "shall we wake the president" will speak on how to disastersspond and why he thinks americans should be prepared to handle disasters on their own instead of expecting the federal to save the day. washington journal begins live at 7:00 p.m. eastern sunday morning. in the weekly address, first lady michelle obama joins president obama to deliver a christmas message. representative tim murphy of pennsylvania has republican response giving tribute to the sandy hook shooting victims. president obama: merry christmas