Former Michigan Congressman John Dingell opens up about political climate

Devin Scillian sits down with John Dingell

WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress in history and was long known as the Dean of the U.S. House.

The younger generation might know Dingell for his razor-sharp wit on Twitter. After almost 60 years in Congress, he has his share of stories.

At the age of 92, it can be hard for others to grasp the history for which Dingell has been both an observer and a participant. He was there when Winston Churchill delivered an address to Congress, and he was there when Franklin Roosevelt said, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

A 59-year career in Congress comes with its mistakes. Dingell writes about his regret for not supporting the equal rights amendment and gay marriage. He does take great pride in fighting for civil rights, for clean air and water and for health care.

He says he's reminded all the time that good government can change lives for the better. Some of his ideas for progress include doing away with the Electoral College and even doing away with the Senate where he believes small states hold outsized power. He does believe in returning to the idea of consensus.

In the book, he writes, "The cancer of cynicism eating away at our country can be cured only when we trust one another again."

He believes that doesn't start in Washington, but everywhere else, with the ordinary citizen who should recognize and must decide that this is a society that is worth keeping.

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