Rachel Maddow | Interview outtakes

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow Photograph: Bill Phelps; Photo illustration: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay

Rachel Maddow recently had just ten minutes to discuss her new book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power—and still there was more material than could fit into our published Q&A. Here are a couple of outtakes from my conversation with the fast-talking, fast-thinking political commentator and MSNBC host:

At the end of Drift, you write, “Without the genuine inspiration I get from my generation of veterans, I never would have wanted to do this.” Are you speaking there of specific vets?
I’m speaking about vets I know and people who I’ve seen working in war zones, but also the men and women who have served, who’ve talked to me about what they did there and about what they want to do over the broad arc of their lives. I know a lot of impressive people in the media, and I’ve known a lot of impressive people in activism and in academia, but as a group, I don’t know of anybody who is more accomplished and ambitious—in the warmest sense of the word—than the people I know who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s just been incredibly hard work that they did under incredibly difficult circumstances with expectations of reward that are very, very different than the rest of us in civilian life have been operating under.

A lot of your family members have served, your father served in the Vietnam War, and you’ve said if it had been legal for openly gay people to serve you might’ve signed up yourself. Has that personal connection influenced your book as well?
I am a post-Vietnam kid, and I have never felt anything other than the fact that public service is an honor, that it is an honorable thing to do and that it’s an honorable way to live and that you oughta have respect for people who choose to serve the public, including through military service. So I feel very unconflicted about that. If I’m a cake, that’s sort of baked into me.

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power is available now. Read the full Q&A here.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)