Joe Scarbrough speak at Blackburn Symposium

Joe Scarbrough speak at Blackburn Symposium

Kimo McVay, center, stands with Hunter Scott, right,12, of Pensacola, Florida, as Rep. Joe Scarborough, left, speaks outside the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday. | Photo Submitted

Scarborough, the current host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and former U.S. Representative, spoke to students, fellows and community members at the 20th Anniversary Blackburn Symposium Friday night.

The University of Alabama alumnus said it was “good to be home.”

A moderate Republican hailing from Pensacola, Florida, Scarborough spoke about what he believes to be the current state of America. He said Americans are “more united than ever,” but a media culture exists that “rewards division,” and America is suffering the effects of a gerrymandered House of Representatives.

Scarborough said it is dangerous to live in a country where people can turn on their TV at any time of day and have all of their pre-existing ?prejudices confirmed.

“At the end of the day, you don’t have people that look at rivals on the other side as wrong,” he said. “They view them as evil. It is not good for our democracy.”

Scarborough reminisced on his days in Congress during the early ‘90s when he served under Bill Clinton. Despite having a democratic president who “hated the Republican Congress,” Scarborough pointed out several accomplishments the House and Clinton Administration were able to achieve, including balancing the budget, paying down the debt and ?creating 22 million new jobs.

“We actually had politicians who cared more about their country than they did about their political differences,” Scarborough said. “But politics has now become a blood sport, and people never stop trying to delegitimize and root against the president. Rooting against success of the ?president is like rooting against the ?success of the country he or she ?is running.”

Scarborough commented on his own party, which he said need to learn to “look outward.” He argued for politicians to try and understand the other side and said, for the country to move forward, “they have to learn to work together.”

He said anyone who bets against America “is like betting against ?the Tide.”

In a follow-up question, freshman Jared Hunter asked Scarborough what he would tell a 20-year-old ?Joe Scarborough.

“Go out and give it your all,” Scarborough said.

He encouraged students to stop staring at their iPhones, to read books, work hard and never take any day for granted.

Members of the audience said they were impressed with Scarborough’s ability to express his own beliefs while acknowledging the beliefs of others.

Caitlin Cobb, a freshman majoring in political science and Spanish, said despite holding different political views, she was able to appreciate his message.

“Honestly I’m of a completely and totally different political viewpoint than he is, but I really enjoyed it because, like him, I really think our country is ?divided,” she said.

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