Norman Lear was born during the presidency of Warren G. Harding and made his bones as a TV producer in the days of Richard Nixon’s White House. It is now morning in Donald Trump’s America. In the foyer of the television producer’s Beverly Hills offices, CNN is blaring the latest on the faux post-election scandal involving the Clintons, a child sex-trafficking ring, and a pizza place.
My eyes move to the Declaration of Independence, hanging on an adjacent wall. In 2000, Lear and his wife, Lyn, paid more than $8 million for a rare original copy of the 1776 document and promptly sent it on a tour of the United States. Next to the burbling heads of CNN, the framed facsimile seems like a before-and-after exhibit on the consequences of a free society. Down the hall, Lear, arriving in his trademark porkpie hat, sits down to a lunch of bincho-grilled salmon brought in from Spago around the corner.
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