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By George, The Radicals Are Back! Kindle Edition
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I was enthralled by his experiences during his decades of service as a U.S. Navy officer. He was stationed much of that time on the front lines of the Cold War and then went on to fight in Desert Storm/Shield. His real-life experiences rival the fictional stories by Tom Clancy. His personal/political views were just as intriguing. Mr. Bennett's charismatic speech personified excellence in all aspects of life, from university education to military service to family and community values.
From his speech, it became clear that Mr. Bennett has written several interesting books. Being a Civil War buff, the first one I've read is BY GEORGE, THE RADICALS ARE BACK! The "radicals" he is talking about are Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans who advised him during the Civil War to liberate the slaves --- men like Frederick Douglass and Thaddeus Stevens. Mr. Bennett brings these little-understood men back to life and places them in our contemporary political scene. The mechanism for bringing them back to life is a device constructed by a group of Libertarians that allows them to bring individuals who lived into the past into our timeline. Although that may seem far-fetched, Mr. Bennett is an accomplished writer who makes it seem plausible. As a Civil War buff I was drawn into the stories of what these men might say if they were alive to advise us on politics today.
These men deliver a message that is particularly relevant to African-Americans, because the central point of their "radicalism" was that African-Americans should be liberated from slavery and then be regarded as AMERICAN CITIZENS, with the same rights and privileges as American citizens of any other race. They did not expect that the liberated slaves should be given special considerations to compensate for centuries of slavery, but only that they be LIBERATED to the OPPORTUNITY to better themselves as FREE AMERICANS --- in the country they believed that God had created for the betterment of all Mankind, including Africans who had been coerced here in bondage.
Mr. Bennett is getting to the point that this is what true "radicalism" is all about: providing people of all races and backgrounds the FREEDOM TO BETTER THEMSELVES BY PURSUING OPPORTUNITY. Let each man or woman raise his or her own standard of excellence in whatever calling they pursue. Don't depend upon government or anyone else to prosper you.
I interpret the meaning of the book to be: The mainstream leadership of both of our political parties today are corrupt. The mainstream Republicans (RINOS) are a tool of bankers and corporate interests who seek to fleece the American people for the benefit of the 1%. The mainstream Democrats are just as corrupt as the Republicans, except that they seek to disguise it by pretending to care about the poor and the minorities by loading them with Welfare State freebies extorted from the taxpayers.
Mr. Bennett's message (again my interpretation) is: America can only be saved by rejecting the self-interests of the entrenched interests of the two mainstream parties. We must return to our roots in REAL radicalism. "Give me Liberty or give me Death!" --- now THAT is radical. Or, as Frederick Douglass said (thanking the Creator AND America's Founders): "I thank God for making me a man born in America."
In other words, Americans of all races, backgrounds, origins, etc. need to get back to the RADICALISM of thanking our Founders for creating America as a free country and the RADICALS who made the country free for people of all races during the Civil War. We must use that freedom to better ourselves. Don't expect the government to give us anything more than FREEDOM. That's what the "radical" Republicans of the 1860s would tell us if they were alive today. Their "radicalism" is the eternal component of what makes us Americans. That was true in 1776, 1865, and today.
Besides the history and politics, there is plenty of cloak-and-dagger action to keep the story moving along. Mr. Bennett seems to have been involved in enough of this during his real-life work in our intelligence services to provide a realistic story.
btw. the final section of this book contains snapshot biographies, and notable quotations, of several dozen "Radicals" during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. This part of the book is a good portal for anyone doing in-depth research into these men who worked for emancipation, African-American citizenship, and civil rights.