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Dan Rather was a defining voice of his generation, and he took to Facebook on Monday to voice his concerns over the state of the nation, calling it an “era of moral rot and the defiling of our communal, social, and democratic norms.”
In his post, the 86-year-old veteran television journalist wrote an impassioned takedown of the Republican Party’s tax bill.
“Wealth can never be a measure of worth,” Rather wrote, going on to describe working-class Americans he said exemplify his vision of the U.S.
“I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, and paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly and infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, and in them I see America,” he wrote.
Rather’s post, which had garnered 62,000 reactions four hours after he posted it, was a response to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). On Monday, the senator defended repealing estate tax by saying it “recognizes the people that are investing.”
“As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Grassley said.
The tax bill the Senate passed on Saturday would not eliminate the estate tax, also known as the “death tax,” which taxes 40 percent on estates worth $10 million or more. But many of the measures actually contained in the bill have been criticized by Democrats for their potential to help the very wealthy—and rely on trickle-down economics for middle-class people to reap any benefits.
Rather, who spent more than 40 years as a correspondent and anchor for CBS News, said the “power brokers in Washington today seem deaf” to the wants and needs of the types of people he described, from public school teachers to immigrants to science students.
“These, and so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists and moneyed classes,” Rather wrote.
He also directly attacked Grassley’s statement.
“What is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley’s demeaning phrasings?” Rather wrote. “Those who can’t afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, and all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their ‘darn pennies’ on the simple joys of life.”
Rather called the tax bill and Republicans’ viewpoints “top-down class warfare run amok.”
“Grassley’s comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party,” Rather wrote, “and it it is not pretty.”
Read Rather’s full post here.
Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.