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122 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good first hand look at an opposing opinion, September 2, 2010
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This review is from: The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama (Hardcover)
A great read - the book moves very quickly and shows the members of these organizations as real people, not stereotypes. Given that, it is at times difficult to read as some of the views the subjects hold are well, just illogical. But the author goes to great lengths to show why they hold these views and why they are so taken with Beck, Rush, Fox News...etc. He explains in detail the events of their lives that brought them to have such distrust for the government and specifically President Obama. I did not come away from this book with a higher opinion of any on the far right, but I appreciate the respect the author shows his subjects. They are after all, people too. As for his details on Beck, I think if one cannot see that he is portraying a character on his television and radio shows, the odds of this book changing your mind are unlikely. I am sensible enough to see that and I also know that if Beck were to retire tomorrow, there would be someone to take his place within days.

In the end he speaks about what he feels these people really fear and I think he hits the nail on the head. They fear that their way of life is vanishing and to some degree they are right. I don't agree that this should be frightening, but it is an accurate diagnosis of the source of their anger.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 8, 2010 8:58:56 AM PDT
An excellent book. Should be read by every citizen in this country. At last the "backlash" sweeping this country since the election of Obama becomes very clear in it's origins and leading characters. Most educational!

Posted on Nov 11, 2010 11:22:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2010 1:21:41 PM PST
In "Is A Puzzlement," my favorite song in "The King and I," the perplexed monarch muses over his earnest effort to comprehend the ways of the world, observing in
a crescendo that "a man will fight ... to prove that what he does not know is so!"
I relate to that as an historian, frequently reminded of the limitations of my craft.
"In my head are many facts, of which I wish I was more certain I was sure." The
more I know, the less I know. And the research goes on.

One of the more confounding aspects of Tea Partiers is their absolute confidence
in their profession of faith and fact; more precisely, faith in fact. It is difficult to discern a teachable moment when people who believe they know everything that they will ever need to know decline to recognize competing perspectives.

Their steadfastness is founded more upon tradition than knowledge, I think. The oppositional aspect of their activities puts me in mind of folk who, basically, miss
the Cold War. Life was so much simpler when we were united against the Soviet
Union. Whatever our domestic differences, we could count on that to define our
place in the universe, the meaning of existence.

The Cold War is over, and we won. After decades of fear and loathing, now, we
can look forward to thinking more positively about the future. The new century.

Or, not. It's morning in America, and some of us have just woken up to the fact
of a different world, and it makes a world of difference. Like it or not, and some
of us plainly do not. Or, simply, we're not so sure.

The Cold War is over, and the Culture War is on, with a prolonged, insidious search for "enemies within," a new "Reds under the beds" scare. A raucous expression of distrust, chipping away steadily at the foundation of the social contract that has inspired and united us for over two centuries.

It's based on trust. Keeping faith with one another, through thick and thin. Always a challenging task, especially when people want to opt out of the contract, threatening secession or worse.

Ironic, since some of the professed defenders of democracy seem to have become allergic to it. To diversity, more likely. Internet, in tandem with a blustery burst of broadcast media, serve us with perpetual reminders of how different we are. Mind-boggling brew, leaving some with an inter-social hangover, assaulting the senses
with the baseless notion that it's bad to be different.

Our national experiment in self-government has always carried an element of risk. Periodically, we affirm, as one, that it's a risk we choose to take.

"Is a danger to be trusting one another. One won't always want to do what other wishes. But unless, some day, somebody trusts somebody, there'll be nothing left on earth excepting fishes."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2010 11:14:21 PM PST
Responding to James ODell's remarks:

Like a fresh warm breeze when springtime finally arrives, I deeply enjoyed reading your enlightened comments. I share your thoughts and concerns.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 10, 2011 11:34:50 PM PDT
I kind of agree. In some ways, the worst thing that's happened to us recently is that the Soviet Union fell apart and left us with a set of attitudes without a target for them. We were robbed of our enemy. The dissolution of our unity probably began before Obama. Clinton was our first post Cold War president and look at what happened in the 90s -- the culture wars and an impeachment. In the wake of 9/11 Bush managed to further divide us by offering us a new superordinate goal, and some of us grabbed for it desperately. Obama now faces that cultural divide in its full-blown form. Obama isn't helping, with his "socialist" policies of making health care affordable for everyone (gasp), but none of that really matters. He can't satisfy the terrified people of the right short of taking us back to the Gilded Age of McKinley. It can't really get any worse unless there is the armed rebellion that some seem to yearn for.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2011 1:47:38 PM PST
John says:
Steven, very good point.
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