Monday, May 29, 2006

2 Good Reads - Crashing the Gate and A Man Without a Country

Over the past day, I've finished reading two strongly progressive books, vastly different in approach and optimism, but similar in outrage at what we have seen happen to America.

Kurt Vonnegut is the octogenarian author of A Man Without a Country, a curmudgeonly collection of essays that will have progressives nodding their heads and conservatives shaking theirs. Sprinkled with bits of wisdom like
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!
and
If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
Reading "A Man Without a Country" is like spending an evening with your favorite uncle.

Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
, by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, is like spending the evening with brilliant, ambitious progressive strategists. They do a fantastic job of outlining the criminally incompetent work of the Democratic Leadership Council and the over-paid class of consultants who have focused the Democratic party more and more on beltway politics and a few swing states. The netroots, with the ability to raise large numbers of small donations, it is argued, provide a way out of the wilderness for progressives who want to recapture the Democratic party. The authors make a strong case, and the book is a must-read for those who have hope that populist democracy is merely comatose, instead of completely dead.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Left in Missouri said...

I just finished Crashing the Gate last week and I agree with you that it is a must-read. It shows that Dems have SO much work to do that it seems overwhelming. But Armstrong and Kos have concrete ideas of what needs to change, mostly centered around the consultants and loser strategists that keep fighting change in an attempt to maintain their "power."

Hopefully, Howard Dean is chaning that mentality. His 50-state strategy is the best thing we have going.

6/01/2006 8:09 AM  

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