Monday, December 15, 2008

Bookworm Meme

The lovely and talented m. heart has tagged me with a meme! Here are the rules:

1. grab the nearest book.
2. open the book to page 56.
3. find the fifth sentence.
4. post the text of the next two to five sentences.
5. don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book or the intellectual one. pick the closest.
6. tag five people to do the same.

This is interesting because the nearest book to my computer is actually one that I haven't started reading yet. Right before Thanksgiving I checked out 4 books from my local library to keep me well-stocked with reading material. I've finished and returned 2 of the books, and I'm almost done with the third. That last one is the nearest one.

At this point I need to give a warning that if you don't like to mix politics with your blog reading, please skip this post.

The book is called Big Lies: The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth by Joe Conason. This is what the sentences starting with the 5th one on page 56 contain:

Within weeks after Congress returned from the holiday recess, Republican leaders resumed their mugging of Daschle, feigning terrible offense at mild remarks he had made about the progress of the war against Al-Qaeda and the imperative of capturing Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban mullahs. Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, chairman of the GOP's congressional campaign committee, ranted that Daschle's "divisive comments have the effect of giving aid and comfort to our enemies by allowing them to exploit divisions in our country." Tom DeLay called Daschle's comments "disgusting".

Tom Daschle was a well-known U.S. Senator (and top-ranking Senate Democrat) from South Dakota , and the comments above come from 2001. In the 2004 midterm elections Daschle was defeated by a Republican challenger. You may have heard his name recently because Daschle was just nominated for the post of Secretary of Health and Human Services by President-elect Barack Obama.

Since I haven't read the book yet I haven't fully processed any opinions about it, but I think I can safely say that it provides a look at how divisive politics have become in this country, which is something that a lot of us are repulsed by. Somehow over the last 15 years it seems that political discourse has become so nasty and cutthroat. What ever happened to disagreeing in a civil manner? Unfortunately I don't see this changing any time soon, if ever.

This passage from the book refers to a practice that I find repugnant – that of questioning the patriotism of anyone who opposes the views of the Bush administration. The whole “you’re either with us or you’re against us” mentality. There was a lot of that going on in the U.S. after the attacks of September 11th.

For one thing, the world cannot be reduced to black and white or good versus evil. That’s a simplistic view that has gotten us into a huge mess over the last 8 years. Secondly, we have a concept in this country called freedom of speech. Calling someone unpatriotic or un-American because you disagree with what they are saying pretty much goes against one of the core founding principles of the United States. Of course you can disagree with someone, but I think we need to remember that we’re on the same side in the big picture. We should focus on our common goals and stop focusing so much on issues that mostly serve to divide us. I think it will be interesting to read this book in light of the fact that the leadership in this country will be changing soon. And it's also interesting to ponder where Tom DeLay is today.

And that’s all I have to say about that!

I'm going to refrain from tagging anyone since there aren't even 5 people who read this blog! But if anyone reading wants to play along, consider yourself tagged!

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Blogger m. heart said...

i'm enjoying the chance to see what everyone is reading with this meme, thanks for doing it!

12/15/2008 10:43 PM  
Blogger REENblack said...

Wow, that sounds pretty intense for "pleasure" reading! Hope you like the book, and it gives you more insight into our messed up government (all parties and people involved!!! lol).

I'll probably do this just for fun...but don't expect much! I read for ease and entertainment value!!! ;-)

12/16/2008 11:01 AM  

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