Last February, Americans watched Congressman Jamie Raskin handle the impeachment trial of former President Trump. “This trial is about who we are,” he stated.
And they now see him on the Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol assault: “We have a duty to collect all of the evidence we need to report back to Congress and to the American people.”
But many viewers could not know that Raskin has carried out these duties underneath circumstances most of us couldn’t even think about.
After all, Raskin appears to have lived a charmed life, since 2017 representing a Maryland Congressional District that shares his pragmatic-progressive beliefs. He advised correspondent Rita Braver, “This is a community of activists and dreamers and visionaries, and it always has been.”
He met his spouse, regulation professor Sarah Bloom Raskin (a former Deputy Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve Board member), once they have been each college students at Harvard Law School.
Braver requested Sarah, “So, why did you marry him?”
“Well, I knew life would really, really deep and beautiful with Jamie,” she replied.
Jamie Raskin’s Mom, Barbara, was a bestselling novelist; his Dad, Marcus, an anti-Viet Nam War activist who ended up on President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.” “It certainly gave me sensitivity to people who get into high office, or the highest office, of the presidency, and then abuse it for their own political purposes,” Jamie stated.
When Raskin, a longtime professor of Constitutional regulation at American University, determined to enter politics, his household was all-in: Sarah, daughters Hannah and Tabitha, and particularly son Tommy.
“Tommy was pure magic; he just was,” stated Raskin. “He was always writing plays. He was always writing poems. He was exuberant. Everybody wanted to be around him.”
Braver requested, “As gifted as he was, he also, as he went into adolescence and beyond, started to have some problems with anxiety and other mental issues?”
“Yeah, he did. Like so many kids today, he had a struggle with mental health.”
During the pandemic, Tommy took his Harvard Law School lessons remotely, from the Raskins’ Maryland dwelling. He was shaken by each George Floyd’s dying, and President Trump’s false election claims.
Raskin stated, “The darkness of the time overcame him.”
And on the night time of December 30, 2020, Tommy Raskin would take his personal life. His father was was the one who discovered him the subsequent morning.
Braver stated, “I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like.”
“Like the end of the world,” stated Raskin.
Tommy left a notice, which learn: “Please forgive me. My illness won today. Look after each other, the animals and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.”
Raskin stated, “For him to ask forgiveness of us, means that we can ask forgiveness from him.”
But Raskin’s new guide, “Unthinkable,” is just not solely concerning the tragedy of his son’s suicide, but in addition concerning the tragedy that befell the entire nation only a few days later.
On January 6, Raskin felt duty-bound to be within the House chamber when Congress was to certify Joe Biden as the subsequent president. Raskin breathed a sigh of aid when Vice President Mike Pence refused Mr. Trump’s calls for to reject some electoral votes.
Braver requested, “Was Mike Pence a hero?”
“On that day, he was a hero,” Raskin replied. “And this is a guy who, I felt, went along with way too much during the Trump administration. But on that day, he was a constitutional patriot.”
Once the proceedings started, Raskin bought as much as converse, thanking his colleagues “for all your love and tenderness, which my family will never forget.”
“Everybody was in a standing ovation,” he recalled. “And I was absolutely overcome with emotion. And, for a second, a split-second, I thought, maybe, because of Tommy, the two sides aren’t gonna fight tonight.
“But, that was a little bit of a fantasy.”
In fact, within a few minutes, after a rally where President Trump repeated the “Big Lie” that the election had been stolen from him, Trump supporters were soon storming the Capitol, trying to break into the House chamber.
“Boom! Boom! Boom!” said Raskin. “And at that time it was pandemonium and chaos.”
Raskin and different members discovered themselves operating by the hallways, looking for a secure place to shelter.
Braver requested, “Were you terrified?”
“I didn’t feel any fear the entire time,” Raskin stated. “And I think that was because of Tommy. The very worst thing that has ever happened me has already happened. And then I felt, Rita, like Tommy was in my chest. I felt him by my heart. He was giving me strength.”
Last February, after the House voted to question Mr. Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” Raskin grew to become the lead House supervisor within the Senate Trial. But the Democrats couldn’t get the two-thirds majority they wanted to convict.
Braver requested, “Did you ever honestly think that impeachment would carry the day?”
“I believed from the beginning, up until the moment when the roll call was called, that we could get 100 votes,” Raskin replied. “I thought it would be 100-0.”
Undaunted, Congressman Raskin agreed to serve on the January sixth committee, methodically making an attempt to uncover what he now sees as a plot to stage a coup. He stated, “There was a plan, essentially, to set aside the presidential election of 2020, despite the fact that Joe Biden won by more than seven million votes, set it aside and them implant a new presidency.”
Braver requested, “Given your own personal tragedy, why do you stay in the fight?”
“Look, I’ve already lost my son, the thing most precious to me,” stated Raskin. “But I’m not gonna see American democracy go down the tubes. We are in the fight of our lives to defend American democracy.”
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Bloom Raskin and Jamie Raskin with recommendation for fogeys involved over a toddler’s psychological well being (YouTube Video)
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
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Story produced by Ed Forgotson. Editor: Karen Brenner.