Moyers on Democracy is a collection of speeches Bill Moyers has given over two decades—from 1987 to 2006—grouped together by subjects he believes, and likely many others would agree, are fundamental to preserving and maintaining a healthy democracy. They include religion, service, politics, and media; his biography reveals all are subjects of which he has first-hand knowledge.
Moyers is an ordained Baptist minister. He worked on then-Senator Lyndon Johnson’s 1960 U.S. Presidential campaign and also for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket. Kennedy appointed him to help found the Peace Corps. After Kennedy’s assassination, he served as a special assistant to Johnson from 1963–1967, including time as White House Press Secretary. But he is likely best known for his work as a highly decorated journalist, mostly during his time at PBS, where he produced intriguing, thought-provoking series like Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers, and Genesis: A Living Conversation. His work has garnered top industry prizes, including more than 30 Emmys, nine Peabody awards, three George Polk Awards, and numerous lifetime achievement awards. He is also a best-selling author.
The book opens with the section, “The Ideal of Service.” Moyers speaks at the Peace Corps Twenty-fifth Anniversary Memorial Service as he is concerned “a generation of Americans is tempted to live undisturbed, buying tranquility on credits while hearts atrophy, quarantined from any great enthusiasm but private ambition.” Following is an excerpt from the 2006 Sol Feinstone Lecture to cadets at the United States Military Academy where he spoke of his misgivings about the Iraq War, concerned that the lessons of the Vietnam War have not been learned. He also pointed out some actions of “the cheerleaders for war in Washington” contradict their words and the tacit agreement between the country and its soldiers, revealing, “Not every politician who flatters you is your ally. Not everyone who believes that war is the wrong choice to some problems is your enemy.”