The Better Angels
Our County

In 1954, legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow interviewed the poet Carl Sandburg for his CBS program See It Now, in which Murrow sat down with public intellectuals for lengthy conversations (yes, kiddies, there was a time when the public saw talks longer than a NowThis clip).

It was the height of the Red Scare, and Murrow had just delivered a blistering attack on Senator Joseph McCarthy and his nasty politicking—but McCarthy kept ruining people’s lives on Capitol Hill. The American Dream seemed on the ropes, so Murrow asked Sandburg if the country was ‘‘in danger of tearing ourselves apart.’’

No, said the poet. ‘‘Over and over again, it has looked as though we were sunk as a nation,’’ he replied. ‘‘And always . . . always, there has been a saving remnant. Always, there has been enough of a small, faithful minority—faithful to the death.’’

In these strange days, we present to you our faithful minority: 31 OC people who make us great, from food to academia, arts to yoga. Muslim, Christian, atheist. Mexican, Syrian, Vietnamese. These are our better angels, the people who inspire us, who teach us how to live in a time when your Facebook feed has turned into one nasty morass and the CIA has hacked into your smartphone to hear you poop. Read these profiles, get inspired, and remember: Be like the faithful minority.

—Gustavo Arellano