Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings was known for saying “We’re better than this.”
He said it in Baltimore, a city on the verge of explosion over police treatment of citizens. He said it in Congress when microphones were shut down, barring free speech. He said it when the President flaunted his power and ignored the Constitution. He said it when the President resorted to bullying, name-calling and feeding racial divisions. We are better than this. He continued to say it until his final days last October. He said it because he believed we must call out what is wrong and call on our better selves to make things right.
In We’re Better Than This, Cummings details the formative moments in his life that prepared him to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his actions while in office. Cummings powerfully weaves together the urgent drama of modern-day politics and the defining stories from his past. He offers a unique perspective on how his upbringing as the son of sharecroppers in a South Baltimore neighborhood, rampant with racism and poverty, laid the foundation of a life spent fighting for justice.
Cummings was known for his ability to referee contentious members of Congress and reach across the aisle for the sake of justice. Since his early days in politics, Cummings proved his abilities as a leader and legal mind who could operate at the highest levels of democracy, always working with – and for – the underserved.
Part memoir, part call-to-action, the book goes behind the scenes with the House Democratic leadership, offering an eye-opening account of the relentless and unprecedented obstructionism by both the President and GOP. Cummings’ final words present a vital defense of how government oversight defines our collective trust and makes the case that, even in the face of our nation’s most challenging times, we must remain rooted in the politics of optimism.
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About the Author
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and died there on October 17, 2019. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Howard University, serving as Student Government President and graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and then graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. Congressman Cummings dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he represented. He began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served sixteen years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. First sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, Congressman Cummings proudly represented Maryland’s 7th District since 1996. He became Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in 2011 and was appointed as Chairman of the Committee in 2019.
James Dale is former president and CEO of advertising agency W. B. Doner & Co., whose clients included British Petroleum, Chiquita, Arby's Restaurants, Klondike Ice Cream, CBS Sports, Johns Hopkins University, and Verizon Wireless. Coauthor of Bullies, Tyrants, and Impossible People, among other books, Dale is cofounder of the business consulting firm Richlin/Dale LLC. He lives in Baltimore.