Joining a litany of celebs and other public figures, Dan Rather has penned an essay about his own feelings in the wake of the surprising – and to Hollywood in particular, demoralizing – victory of Donald Trump in the race to become U.S. President.

Striking a balance between calls for empathy and conciliation and for protracted political combat, Rather reflected in the letter, posted to his Facebook page, on the history of the United States and the nature of Democracy. Rather mused on the marble buildings in DC, noting their ability to endure centuries and their connection to ancient Rome, another city built in marble.

“Rome is a provocative comparison because the remnants of that ancient society remain standing centuries after the empire that built them crumbled and died,” Rather said. “For while buildings are important, the heart of a nation lies with its people. Marble may last but the strength of a society must be constantly reinforced.”

Rather’s criticisms, veiled though they were, were primarily aimed at the rhetoric of Trump, though he did call for Americans to resist temptation to delegitimize one another. “[W]hen we seek to undermine our political adversaries by attacking their right to participate in our national discourse we risk causing longterm harm to the rationale behind the nation we all claim to love,” he said.

Rather concluded thusly: “And the marble of Washington might cease to be cathedrals to democracy and more like mausoleums. Anyone who considers himself or herself a true patriot cannot allow us to head down this dangerous path. It is in our hands to demand that we re-water the seeds of our highest national morals and ideals.”

Read the full letter below.

As the administration of Donald Trump starts to take shape in Washington, I find myself thinking back again of that historic city and where we may be headed.

It is no accident that our monuments and institutions of government in our nation’s capital are made out of marble. They are cathedrals to our democracy – impressive, imposing, and built to last. They are also beacons to our improbable aspirations. When our predecessors planned and constructed these buildings, our republic was still quite young. It still is, by the measure of most societies on earth. The old saying may remind us that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but much of Washington D.C. was built over the course of a few dec.

Rome is a provocative comparison because the remnants of that ancient society remain standing centuries after the empire that built them crumbled and died. For while buildings are important, the heart of a nation lies with its people. Marble may last but the strength of a society must be constantly reinforced.

For the years I lived in Washington, and ever since on return visits, I have loved walking amongst the city’s wide boulevards and past its famous addresses. And yet covering the men and women who wielded power from their marble perches is to be reminded that as permanent as our nation can seem, we can never take its future for granted. The strength of our institutions lie within us, and our representatives.

I have seen this nation’s spirit of self evidence challenged in the past, with World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, and Watergate, just to name a few. Some of these struggles were largely foreign in origin, others sprouted from our own imperfections.

I believe that we are once again at an inflection point. This presidential election, with its bitter partisan divide and often irresponsible rhetoric, threatens to crumble some of the foundations of our democratic institutions. We now await to see whether the president-elect’s actions will match his words. We cannot simply slough off these worries with incantations that everything will work out. The dictionary lists “democracy” as a noun, but because it requires action to be, I like to think of it more as a verb.

We should not expect or even hope to agree on policy or priorities. Fostering healthy and respectful debate is one of the strengths of our system of government. But when we seek to undermine our political adversaries by attacking their right to participate in our national discourse we risk causing longterm harm to the rationale behind the nation we all claim to love.

And the marble of Washington might cease to be cathedrals to democracy and more like mausoleums. Anyone who considers himself or herself a true patriot cannot allow us to head down this dangerous path. It is in our hands to demand that we re-water the seeds of our highest national morals and ideals.