Interview with Senator Gary Hart
To get started, can you tell us how you became interested in politics, and how your career started?
I was a student volunteer for John Kennedy while in law school and a volunteer for Robert Kennedy in 1968 in Colorado. I served in the Robert Kennedy Department of Justice after graduating from law school.
You’ve had a very successful career in politics, can you tell us a little bit about what you loved and what might have been difficult working as a Senator?
My political “career” was only 12 years in the US Senate but years thereafter in various commission and special committee positions. I was fortunate to have served in the Senate at a time when Democrats and Republicans worked together, respected each other, and put the national interest ahead of party advantage.
What sparked the idea for The American Republic Can Save American Democracy?
Later in life I pursued a PhD on the subject of the American Republic and have sought since then to educate my fellow citizens on what it means to be citizens of a republic with its duties and responsibilities.
In the book you discuss the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, for those who haven’t read your book yet, why is it important that we understand that in the context of The Republic and democracy?
The January 6th insurgency was the greatest threat to our nation since the Civil War. If a large percentage of Americans do not defend our democracy, we will lose it.
Your political career had a significant focus on international affairs, and you have a relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev. The war in Ukraine is still happening at the time of this interview. Can you speak a little bit about why it’s significant in the context of The American Republic Can Save American Democracy?
Ukraine is a democracy. All democratic republics must defend each other or we will all perish. The forces of the far right are attacking all of us.
For young people wanting to become involved in politics and governance, what advice can you give them?
Volunteer in campaigns for candidates at all levels who represent your views and who will advocate for changes you think are important. Follow the news closely and daily. Pay close attention to developments. Attend public meetings such as city and county council meetings, state legislature hearings, and political events. Learn from all of these.
What books are you reading now?
Books by Prof. Gordon Wood on American history and by Prof. Lawrence Tribe on the American constitution.