Although Louisiana native and nationally acclaimed journalist Cokie Roberts died last month, her voice is back in the public conversation, thanks to an interview with her included in a new book, “The American Story.” What Roberts had to say is especially timely as Louisiana goes through election season this year and a national election looms in 2020.
“The American Story” is a collection of interviews that philanthropist David M. Rubenstein did with popular historians before an audience filled with members of Congress. The idea was to put partisanship aside and help focus lawmakers on the American history we have in common.
Roberts was interviewed because of her several books about American women who have helped shape the nation’s destiny. The daughter of two parents who had served in Congress, Roberts began the interview by pointing out the importance of holding elective office.
“I am such an admirer of people in public service of all kinds, but particularly people in elected office,” Roberts said. “It is hard work. You are constantly called upon to respond to the needs and desires, crazy as they can be sometimes, of your bosses, the voters.”
It’s a simple point, though one often overlooked. Serving in public office is challenging, and even doing an average job requires exhaustive effort. The willingness of men and women to do that work, so often unglamorous, keeps democracy afloat.