Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Christmas in February (Part 1)

David celebrates his new book
Last month, I sent some people (including David obviously) copies of Democracy at Risk with the following letter inside:
Around every holiday where gift giving is customary, I find myself in a conundrum. Most of the people I buy gifts for already have more things than they need. It almost seems spiteful to burden them with more, but at the same time I don’t want them to think I’m not appreciative. Given that one of the most pressing challenges our planet faces is our excessive consumption, my reservations about gift giving run much deeper than mere lack of need.
One of the solutions to this problem is to give books. Books facilitate the deliberate transfer of thoughts. Not stooping to the hasty and shallow banter that so often devalues our language, good books represent the other end of the spectrum. They are thoughtful, cautious, and represent vast amounts of time on the part of the author.
This year, I’m trying something new. For everyone on my Christmas list I have purchased the same book. I have not read this book and I do not know if it falls into the “good” category (though my research says it does and I surely hope it does). I will be reading this book over the next month and will be blogging about it during the month of February. I hope you will engage in the discussion (
I am giving this book to you because I value you. I am giving this book to you because I think you are thoughtful. 
Merry Christmas.
 Note: If you didn't receive one, don't be offended. I had a limited number and I'm really not that great at giving gifts. I hope even if I didn't send you one, you'll join in the discussion.

I was a little nervous about the book initially. It was published in 2000 and the world was a much different place then. It was written at a time when the markets were "booming" and "prosperity" was rampant. Now, after reading some of the way through the book, I think it is ideal.

It's easy to bemoan the economic problems of today; the economy is bad, people are out of work, etc. It's much more difficult to avoid wishing our economy behaved like it did back in the 90s. Nevertheless, the author gives us a less dreamy picture of the Clinton economy.

Of course what I like most is his affirmation for an engaged electorate. Howard Zinn said "You can't be neutral on a moving train," and if the trajectory of our politics says anything, it says we must be invested in our democracy.

Today's post is really just meant to be an introduction. This book's message has the specialty of being transcendent. For that I am thankful. I'll be posting all this month. Chime in.

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