When considering major themes in American history, which he often covers, filmmaker Ken Burns put racism at the top of the list.
“I think the American question of freedom is a big one, the tension between individual freedom and collective freedom is a big one, but I think the sub-theme of American history is race,” Burns told “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert.
“We were founded on the idea that all men were created equal, but oops—the guy who wrote that owned more than 100 human beings and didn’t see in his lifetime to free any one of them; didn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy. And so it set us on a journey where we are constantly having to struggle not with race, but racism.”
According to the filmmaker, Trump taking two days to disavow the Ku Klux Klan is just one of many signs that racism still exists in America.
Burns’ new documentary is about Jackie Robinson, recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and the winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949. Robinson’s legacy represents an end to the baseball color line—60 years of segregation in professional baseball.
“Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player in the white major leagues,” Colbert told the audience, and whose legacy, like many historical figures, said Burns, is “smothered in mythology.”
“We thought it might be possible to liberate him from the barnacles of sentimentality that attach, because what Jackie Robinson has to teach us now is exactly the same as when he was alive,” Burns explained. “There’s nothing new under the sun. Human nature doesn’t change, it just randomly superimposes itself on the random chaos of events.”
Ken Burns’ Jackie Robinson documentary talks about Confederate flags, stop and frisk, the experience African Americans have driving, and thburning black churches—essentially Black Lives Matter.
“So, if we’re curious, but are not comfortable talking today, having a courageous conversation about race, let’s look at Jackie Robinson’s life and see how many of the same tropes that are part of our life today Jackie addresses. [He’s] not only the most important person in baseball, but the most important person in American sports.”
“And a great player,” added Colbert.
For the documentary, Ken Burns interviewed influencers ranging from Carl Erskine to the Obamas.
Watch: Ken Burns discusses Trump, Obama and Jackie Robinson on The Late Show.
Trump thinks he can create his own healthcare law that will take the issue off the table for Democrats
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This week Trump will announce that he's running for president again, and he promises a surprise announcement while there. While it's unclear what he intends for the surprise, one thing he is talking about is a better healthcare law than the Democratic one.
According to The New York Times, Trump is "vowing to issue the plan within a month or two, reviving a campaign promise with broad consequences for next year’s contest."
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Sunday, it was announced that Trump was so furious with his lousy poll numbers that he fired the team of pollsters. Trump apologists claimed that the anger had more to do with the leak of the poll numbers to the public.
Either way, Trump is in trouble, whether he's willing to admit it or not. But his solution is characteristically "Trump."
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President Donald Trump was very displeased when his chief of staff had the audacity to cough or sneeze during his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. The full interview finally aired on "20/20" Sunday, showing the president in the Oval Office and outside in the Rose Garden.
The ABC interview showed the moment where Mick Mulvaney coughed, and Trump stopped the interview abruptly.
The two were discussing why Trump wouldn't release his taxes.