APB Speaker Eric Liu Believes Democracy Will Survive and Even Be Made Stronger
07 Oct 2022
Is democracy in the U.S. in grave risk of failing? According to Eric Liu, APB speaker, CEO of Citizen University, bestselling author and former White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, absolutely not. In a recent interview with CNN, Liu says he is deeply optimistic about America’s future.
Liu told CNN that engaged citizens get angry; apathetic and cynical citizens don’t make noise. And amid anxieties about Russian aggression and an emboldened China, America’s tumultuous political climate is not a weakness but a strength.
In fact, democracy is one of the subjects Liu continues to explore in his compelling, acclaimed talks—talks that celebrate our shared values and challenge Americans to live up to them. He is one of the country’s most sought-after speakers on citizen power, civic health, the future of democracy and American identity. His inspirational 2019 main stage TED Talk, based on his work at Citizen University, received a standing ovation and more than topped one million views in less than a month. His two previous TED Talks, on power and on voting, have been viewed three million times. Liu has been elected to membership in the American Academy of the Arts and selected to be a 2020 Ashoka Fellow. In both cases, he was recognized by colleagues and was championed by friends.
For Liu, things might seem difficult right now because we are trying to be planet Earth’s first multiracial, multicultural and multifaith democratic republic at scale, he said to CNN. “To those who conclude it’s not possible, I would say it’s too early to say that,” he said. “And by saying that, you’re dooming the project. The only way to determine whether this project is possible is to act as if it’s possible—that is, to commit over and over again to become that country we’d like to see.”
Liu, son of Chinese immigrants, also directs the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship & American Identity Program and is a correspondent at TheAtlantic.com. His eight books include You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen, and the national best-sellers The Gardens of Democracy and True Patriot. His first book, The Accidental Asian, Notes of a Native Speaker was a New York Times Notable Book featured in the PBS documentary, “Matters of Race.” Liu’s latest book is Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility and Democracy, which grows out of the Civic Saturday phenomenon that Liu and his team pioneered and has now spread nationwide.
In addition to serving as a White House speechwriter for President Clinton, Liu was later the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. He has also served as a board member of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Washington State Board of Education and the Seattle Public Library, and is co-founder of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.