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A Liberal Mandate: Reflections on our Founding Vision and Rants on how we have Failed to Achieve it Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Weit Press (January 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578043653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578043654
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,421,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Along with thousands of other young idealists, I decided to enter public service following the election of John F. Kennedy. My experience of spending a year in West Berlin after graduating from college (yes, I was in the crowd that day when President Kennedy gave his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech), convinced me to enter the Foreign Service. My rather eclectic career since then has involved domestic government service; the ministry, with a stint on Capitol Hill attempting to speak truth to power; and education, including writing and teaching graduate courses on political and social ethics.

In addition, I served as a full-time paid staffer on the McGovern Presidential campaign and have been a volunteer a number of times since then, most recently for President Obama. If there is a common thread that ties all of this together, it is the sense of mission that marked the 60s and that decade's vision of what America could and should become.

I have a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard, a Ph.D. in international relations, and a Master of Divinity degree. I have lived in Washington, DC for over 40 years and considers politics to be life's greatest spectator sport.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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His book is easy to read and can be serious but at some points, it is extremely funny.
Marge Martin
Dr. Martin presents a cogent and compelling argument that the vision our founding fathers had for America was based more upon liberal than conservative principles.
Howard W. Greenup
It also has a number of interesting and enlightening personal anecdotes (this guy has gotten around), and is in parts very funny.
Samuel Peters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Peters on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cried, I laughed, I got steaming mad. A Liberal Mandate is exceptionally well-written and chock-full of creative policy ideas on subjects such as education, jobs, health care, poverty, taxation, public financing of elections, etc., and especially the role of government. It also has a number of interesting and enlightening personal anecdotes (this guy has gotten around), and is in parts very funny. It has that rare combintion of being both serious and entertaining.

The promises the author says we must keep are those found in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution: community, equality, human rights, and justice. His argument is that only a government even more liberal than we have experienced since the New Deal and Great Society can make these promises a reality. This is a must read for liberals if we are ever going to get ourselves together.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Chester Fielder on February 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
Keith Martin's "A Liberal Mandate" compiles many of the ironies and condemns the defeat of liberal public policy aspirations over the past generation. Identifying the Johnson Administration as the last productive period for the liberal agenda, he criticizes the robustness and increasing selfishness of reactionary public policies as, flatly, immoral. He is persuasive. He takes as the "due north" of the national moral compass -- a compass now badly misdirected -- the language and meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution -- e.g., "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and "the blessings of liberty." He shows how the values inherent in the promises conjured by such language are persistently and perversely inverted by anti-liberal political actors and their culture. By sprinkling his extended essay with personal asides, and asserting as "ironic" much in public policy for which "outrageous" would be a completely appropriate characterization, Martin keeps the tone light. Much in our tax code, for example, that is perniciously and penuriously regressive is questioned on moral grounds, but not bludgeoned, as it might fairly be. Were he not successful in keeping it light, I am not sure that a committed liberal -- I am one -- could bear to read all that he has compiled to demonstrate the inherent immorality in the costs, counted in human misery, of our failure to live up to the moral imperative our founding principles. Martin makes many shrewd observations, on point but not necessarily claimed as original. E.g., if the public option in the health reform bill had been labeled "Medicare Part E," might it have had a better reception?Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By gc on February 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Discouraged liberals get the boost they need from this book to fight for the ideals and human values expressed by the founding fathers. Keith Martin's succinct volume is easily readable, pragmatically informative, and passionately personal. Martin's diatribe elevates public consciousness regarding how far we've fallen short of the country's initial conception. Although there is no guaranteed action plan for restoring the country's moral imperative, the author does a good job of providing specific, workable recommendations for doing so. Martin writes, "We have become less equal, less just, less free, and less communal." It's time to counter the drift.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anne Wernau on July 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the theme of this book and the challenge that each of us commit to a personal quest in contributing to a more humane society. A "Liberal Mandate" is written with passion, humor and great humanity (as well as justified frustration) in regard to our country's self-proclaimed goal (Declaration of Independence) to achieve "the reality of community, equality, human right and justice for all. May it be so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beth Miles on July 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
On reading A Liberal Mandate, you can get a clear picture of democracy as it is today. Out democracy is under attack, and not from abroad,but from the powers within.The Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% have been extended,the Roberts Supreme Court has given carte blanche to buy elections, the present environmental policy will leave our grandchildren a poor people and a poor country to live in. What can be done? Read A Liberal Mandate.In this book Keith Martin traces a straight line from the Declaration of Independence to the politics of today with good sense and humor. He upholds a viable American democracy against the Tea Party types. Here is a voice of reason for our time. The book gives me hope. A Libera Mandate argues for what is best for America, and in Martin's voice you can hear some sanity and justice for what has made America great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marge Martin on June 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Keith Martin has written an insightful, thought-provoking, and witty commentary on the major current event issues of our time. His book is easy to read and can be serious but at some points, it is extremely funny. I would recommend this book to all liberals, and if you're conservative, read it anyways. Who knows, it could change your mind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Celeste on March 23, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an easy read. It is informative, educational and written with candor and insight. I am proud to have it on my bookshelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Bailes on February 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
"We have simply failed to live up to our founding vision," Keith D. Martin writes in "A Liberal Mandate," his first monograph. "A Liberal Mandate" lives up to its name as it challenges the liberal vision within the American psyche to remember its necessary voice. This voice, however, is not found through abstract thought, but in the founding principles of the United States of America. From ministry, to politics, and education, Martin's intelligence and life experience combine in this powder-keg for liberals. Anyone looking for finely tuned policies or scrupulously analyzed ideas must not look for those within Martin's writing. His interest remains passionately with breathing new life into dreaming, and envision practical, human, and societal change "for the people, by the people."

Martin engages ideas that rest in the soul of America's founding documents, America's founding vision. These are the words of equality, community, rights, justice, government. They are words that Martin contends ought center us back onto living up to the promise. His strikingly frank and honest dialogue are fresh and challenging for our current political discourse that looks for buzzwords, not engaging conversation. Speaking of being provided health care after a traffic accident while in England, Martin says, "That was England, this is America, the most moral righteous, generous, and decent of all countries, as our political leaders are fond of telling us (by the way, how do they know this? It's kind of like a corner store saying it has the world's coldest beer or a deli advertising the world's best hamburger. How can such determinations possibly be made?)." Martin holds nothing back, and is unapologetic about utilizing experience to inform ideas.

Martin is a must read for any liberal or progressive.
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