Why is the American left in disarray and can anything be done about it? That question has haunted progressives and others who care about democracy for several decades. With the hard-right faction of the Republican Party in control of Congress, the White House and Supreme Court, the revitalization of the left in general and the Democratic Party in general is more pressing than ever.
WAKE UP, YOU'RE LIBERAL is the result of several years of research. I examined hundreds of polls of voter attitudes, talked to numerous political experts and ordinary Americans and studied media coverage of the two major parties to come up with a theoretical new political party--one that would synthesize the liberal, conservative and libertarian impulses that drive the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens, regardless of their party affiliation.
What I found was startling. On most issues, Americans--even Republicans--tend to favor values that could be best described as liberal. They fail to support candidates that agree with them on these issues, however, when they perceive hypocrisy or inconsistency in those men and women.
I expect that readers on the left and right will be equally surprised by much of what I have to say here, but I'm not a polemicist. This book is my political magnum opus, my first attempt to present my vision for the country and its people in the hope of restoring a vibrant dialogue between people who differ on everything but what matters most: doing what's best for America.
Oh, and for those who care anout such things: this book is all prose, no cartoons.
Ted Rall was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, raised in Kettering, Ohio and graduated from high school in 1981. His first cartoons were published in the Kettering-Oakwood (OH) Times. He majored in physics at Columbia Universitys School of Engineering from 1981 until 1984, where he drew cartoons for the Columbia Daily Spectator.
Inspired after meeting pop artist Keith Haring in a Manhattan subway station in 1986, Rall began posting his cartoons on New York City streets. He eventually picked up 12 clients through self-syndication. In 1990, he returned to Columbia, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts with honors in history in 1991. Later that year, Ralls cartoons were signed for national syndication. He moved to Universal Press Syndicate in 1996.
His cartoons now appear in more than 140 publications, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aspen Times, Hartford Advocate, Newark Star-Ledger, Los Angeles Times, SF Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper, Village Voice, Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News, Las Vegas Review Journal, Washington City Paper, Tucson Weekly, Sacramento News & Review, San Jose Mercury-News, Lexington Herald-Leader and New York Times.
From 1998 to 2000, Ted hosted his highly-rated, twice-weekly talk show on KFI Radio in Los Angeles. Highlights of Teds show included "Stan Watch: Breaking News from Central Asia," which was simulcast by both National Public Radio and the BBC, and caustic interviews with such figures as former Klansman David Duke. Ted often broadcast his radio show from overseas, and made American radio history by airing the first live talk radio shows from Cuba, Uzbekistan and war-torn Kashmir Province. Most recently, Teds live from Afghanistan reports for KFI Radio and written dispatches for the Village Voice have been called "some of the best war reporting from Afghanistan" by The Nation.
Ted has published three collections of cartoons: Waking Up In America (1992), All The Rules Have Changed (1995) and Search and Destroy (2001).
Known for his caustic humor, prolificity and unflinching take on current topics, Rall writes a weekly op-ed column and has authored four prose and graphic books. Ralls critically-acclaimed first graphic novel, Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing Ive Ever Done! (1996), collected real-life stories of peoples worst deeds in comic form, and won the first-prize 1997 Firecracker Alternative Book Award. Ralls second graphic novel, the semi-autobiographical My War With Brian (NBM) was published in 1998. In the same year Ted also wrote a Gen X manifesto about generational angst, Revenge of the Latchkey Kids (Workman Publishing, 1998). It received widespread critical acclaim and established him as one of Americas leading spokespersons for the disenfranchised and alienated. His 2024 (NBM, 2001) is a visually elegant graphic novel updating and parodying George Orwells 1984.
Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoonists (NBM, 2002) was a ground-breaking cartoon collection of alternative cartoonists, edited by Ted Rall. (Attitude 2 appeared in 2004.) To Afghanistan and Back, the first-ever instant graphic travelogue chronicling Teds harrowing experiences covering the war for the Village Voice and KFI Radio, was a bestseller recently picked as a Best Book of the Year by the American Library Association.
In 1996, he was one of three Finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. He was one of the New York Times most reprinted cartoonist in 1997, 1999 and 2001. He also did color strips for both Time Magazine and Fortune Magazine from 1998 to 2001. He was awarded the 1998 Deadline Club Award by the Society of Professional Journalists for his cartoons. Rall received first place in both the 1995 and 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for Cartoons. The award, founded in 1968, recognizes distinguished work on behalf of disadvantaged Americans.