Sen. Doug Jones on uniting the Democratic party: "Compromise doesn't need to be about a loss"


Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat from Alabama, joined Salon’s executive editor Andrew O’Hehir to reflect on the lessons he’s learned about race and white supremacy from growing up as a white Southern during the civil rights era, to being a U.S. Attorney in the early 2000s who played a major role in prosecuting the white supremacists who committed the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham in 1963.

“I think it really changed a lot of hearts and awoke the conscience of America to the hatred and the fallacies of Jim Crow and the segregation of the time,” Sen. Jones said about the case. Jones is the author of a new book, available now, called “Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights.”

The senator was just nine years old when the bombing occurred, and he opened up about his own awakening around racial injustice. “It was not until when I went to junior high school, and started going to an integrated school that the world all of a sudden changed,” Jones said. Watch the episode above to see how Jones is approaching social justice today and the role he believes officials have in condemning white supremacy.

In terms of where he sees the direction of his own party, Jones is hopeful. “I'm a glass half full kind of guy, and I am very hopeful. I believe that that's where we will head. There's a lot of energy. There's a lot of enthusiasm out there right now in the party, and trying to capture that and harness that in order to go into 2020 is going to be a challenge,” Jones said.

The senator also emphasized meeting his senate colleagues in the middle. “Compromise doesn't need to be about a loss. It needs to be a way to progress, and there's got to be a way to do that,” he said. “We've got to figure out ways that we can find common ground to get things done. Everything has got to be done with an eye toward what can we do to govern?”


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Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.

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