Amherst Magazine

Rachel Maddow’s One Percent

By Emily Gold Boutilier

[Politics] MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is not only a cable news celebrity but also a local kid who made good. She got her start at two radio stations in Western Massachusetts—WRNX in Springfield and WRSI in Northampton. Now she lives part time in the Pioneer Valley.

On March 30, she arrived in Johnson Chapel to deliver a talk that centered on warfare. In front of a full house, Maddow referred often to her book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power and brought up such topics as tax cuts during wartime: “Normal countries do not do this,” she said. “But for us, war feels free.”

Noting that fewer than 1 percent of the U.S. population has fought in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Maddow said veterans of those wars worry that their fellow citizens will pity and fear them. “We as civilians,” she said, “are alienated from the people who have been fighting in our name.”

Maddow took questions on everything from reinstating the draft (“It’s not a magic bullet,” she said) to whether MSNBC is to the Democratic Party what Fox News is to the Republican Party. (No, she argued: “The guy who runs MSNBC—I don’t even think he votes.”)

Maddow’s talk was sponsored by the Office of the President.

Photo by Mark Idleman ’15