My Book Nook
There was a time in my life when politics was something other people cared about. I was one of the people who could often be heard saying stuff like “Politics are boring.” So cool, I know. But in 2008, Barack Obama ran and that changed everything. I was obsessed. I was not only inspired to vote for only the second time in my life (I really was that disengaged), I campaigned for him , blogged about him (now gone courtesy of MySpace), and debated anyone who dared tell me he wasn’t going to lead us in saving the world with his call to us to be a part of Organizing for America.
The President stood me up. I waited around for his call or email to tell me how I could be a part of Organizing for America, and it never came. Not that I sat waiting, mind you. I found my own way. The bad thing about inspiring someone like me to be informed and engaged is that we take the call seriously. So I began to give myself the history education I never got in school
I could go on and on, but the history of my “Wokeness” isn’t the point here. It’s about the books. The 2016 elections and campaigning for Bernie (#FeelTheBern) led me to The Young Turks and my favorite progressive there, Jimmy Dore, who recommended Listen Liberal.
What it’s about: Thomas Frank is a journalist, political analyst and historian (not necessarily in that order). From Mr. Frank himself:
The subject of my new book is the Democratic Party’s failure over the last few decades to do anything really meaningful about income inequality.- Source
Why I read it: Having left my job in ’09, in what was supposed to be the beginning of the end of the recession, I knew I was crazy. But it wasn’t just me who suffered financially. Not two years after I left, the organization began layoffs that continue till this day. Other friends, many of whom have a college education and professional jobs, can’t make ends meet without side hustles and part time jobs. Seven years later and things didn’t seem to look much better for many of us. Why was that if everything was supposed to be so great?
The president in whom I’d seen “Hope & Change” was not that at all. Neither was his political party of corporatists who wanted to give us more neoliberal policies through Hillary Clinton, and I wasn’t with her.
Quotes: (unfortunately I didn’t highlight well, and lost all the really GOOD quotes)
In the past, administrations taking office after a wave of corporate crime would often use high-profile prosecutions to signal that a tough new sheriff was on the job. Obama chose not to. Instead his Justice Department let slide nearly every bit of bank misbehavior to make headlines, from the countless apparent frauds of the housing-bubble days to…. All these outrages—and yet, according to one study, Federal prosecutions for white-collar crimes hit a twenty-year low in 2015
Why you should read it: Our new president has “inspired” a whole new wave of activists, which is wonderful to see, but their laser focus on all things Trump keeps them uninformed. Much too often the anti-T activists fail to see past him (and Russia). Trump is horrible, no doubt, but he is a symptom of a much older and larger problems that resulted in a loss to him. There are reasons he won that are more complicated than Russia, third-party voters and emails.
— Libby (@LibbyJulia) March 2, 2017
Thinking you’re informed because you can regurgitate what the corporate media is telling your and you KNOW Trump is bad, is a lot like thinking you know someone because you are Facebook friends. As with all things, we need context and a desire to learn more than what we can easily see. There are reasons why he won beyond racism, sexism, etc..(economic reasons), but more importantly, there are reasons why someone could lose to him.
Listen Liberal is just one book, but a great book, that provides some of that context and some of those reasons.
I wasn’t going to spend so many words on Listen Liberal, but I don’t give a fuck. I wasn’t going to spell out the word fuck, but I don’t…. just kidding, I was always gonna spell it out.
Because FUCK it!
What’s it about: It’s not what you think. You know all those memes about the lack of fucks given? There are tons of them, seriously, Google “How many fucks I give,” I’ll wait.
Well, surprisingly the book isn’t about not giving a fuck.
It’s about what you’re giving a fuck about and making sure it’s worthy.
It’s about investing in your personal growth and understanding that we learn and grow from the things that challenge us. Instead of let’s say , not giving a fuck about anything , because that would make us sociopaths, we just find out what matters to us and invest our time in those things. Always with the understanding that caring about things and people can sometimes bring us physical or emotional pain *caring about people should not bring you physical pain
Quotes: I have no quotes to give (ha, see what I did there?) as I didn’t highlight anything, but I’ll get better as I continue on the Book Nook journey.
Why you should read it: Because I said so! Or actually because it will provide you with a different perspective on life and how you spend your time and energy. And because it may challenge what you believe about life.
It helped me to wrap my head around this political time in our history and how—and this is a line I heard somewhere but can’t remember to give credit if you know, tell me in the comments—there’s a fine line between informed and immersed. I was immersed to the point of anxious. I’ve crossed back to informed and healthily engaged.
And there you go folks. It was long, but I brought it all together for you.
So read the books or don’t. I don’t give a f… well ya know (I guess even I think there are one too many. Who knew?)
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