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Tue 16

November 16, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm PST

Ben Rhodes Talks “After the Fall: Being an American in the World We’ve Made”

USC Center for the Political Future

Location: Online

Ben Rhodes has served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting under President Obama, co-hosts the widely popular podcast “Pod Save the World,” and recently published his latest book “After the Fall: being American in the World We’ve Made.”

Mr. Rhodes is also a former Fellow at the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future. He joins Center Co-Directors Bob Shrum and Mike Murphy to examine where America has gone wrong and how essential it is to fight for what he thinks America should be. 

Description from Amazon.com: 
“In 2017, as Ben Rhodes was helping Barack Obama begin his next chapter, the legacy they had worked to build for eight years was being take apart. To understand what was happening in America, Rhodes decided to look outward. Over the next three years, he traveled to dozens of countries, meeting with politicians, activists, and dissidents confronting the same nationalism and authoritarianism that was tearing America apart. Along the way, a Russian opposition leader he spoke with was poisoned, the Hong Kong protesters he came to know saw their movement snuffed out, and America itself reached the precipice of losing democracy before giving itself a second chance.

Part memoir and part reportage, After the Fall is a hugely ambitious and essential work of discovery. In his travels, Rhodes comes to realize how much American’s fingerprints are on a world we helped to shape, through our post-Cold War embrace of unbridled capitalism and our post-9/11 nationalism and militarism; our mania for technology and social media; and the racism that fueled the backlash to America’s first Black president. At the same time, Rhodes learns from the stories of a diverse set of characters–from Barack Obama himself to Cuban rebels to a rising generation of international leaders–that looking squarely at where America has gone wrong makes clear how essential it is to fight for what America is supposed to be, for our country and the entire world.”

This conversation is part of our Bully Pulpit podcast series. When President Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase bully pulpit, bully meant “wonderful,” and Roosevelt, according to the Oxford Dictionary, was envisioning “an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.” Every exchange is guided by standards central to the Center’s mission: Respect each other and respect the truth. Opponents are adversaries, not enemies. And if you lose, don’t burn down the stadium.