Another excerpt from Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s thriller “The President is Missing”.

Alright alright alright…. I am not being lazy here, I really think this text captures the thinking of progressives beautifully and describes our current predicament much better than I could. It is taken from the end of the book (pp 504-508, with cut text), but does not reveal the plot, so you are safe to read it if you are in the middle of the book or planning to buy it. I must stress that the rest of the book is a thriller, not a political tract. I also chuckled because it is clear that this is what former president Clinton would be itching to say if he could deliver another State of the Union Address, but it is now placed in the mouth of a practically flawless character, a war hero who loved his recently deceased wife….. Decide for yourself if this might be a little self-serving.

Here goes:

“Our democracy cannot survive its current downward drift into tribalism, extremism, and seething resentment. Today it’s “us versus them” in America. Politics is little more than blood sport. As a result, our willingness to believe the worst about everyone outside our own bubble is growing, and our ability to solve problems ans seize opportunities is shrinking.

We have to do better. We have honest differences. We need vigorous debates. Healthy skepticism is good. It saves us from being too naive or too cynical. But it is impossible to preserve democracy when the well of trust runs completely dry.

The freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the checks and balances in our Constitution were designed to prevent the self-inflicted wounds we face today. But as our long history reveals, those written words must be applied by people charged with giving life to them in each new era. That’s how African Americans moved from being slaves to being equal under the law and how they set off on the long journey to be equal in fact, a journey we know is not over. The same story can be told of women’s rights, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, the rights of the disabled, the struggle to define and protect religious liberty, and to guarantee equality to people without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

These have been hard-fought battles, waged on uncertain, shifting terrain. Each advance has sparked a strong reaction from those whose interests and beliefs are threatened.

Today the changes are happening so fast, in an environment so covered in a blizzard of information and misinformation, that our very identities are being challenged.

What does it mean to be an American today? It’s a question that will answer itself if we get back to what’s brought us this far: widening the circle of opportunity, deepening the meaning of freedom, and strengthening bonds of community. Shrinking the definition of “them” and expanding the definition of “us”. Leaving no one behind, left out, looked down on.

We must get back to that mission. And do it with both energy and humility, knowing that our time is fleeting and our power is not an end in itself but a means to achieve more noble and necessary ends.

The American dream works when our common humanity matters more than our interesting differences and when together they create endless possibilities.

That’s an America worth fighting – even dying – for. And, more important, it’s an America worth living and and working for.

[…………]

Our founders left us an eternal charge: to form a more perfect union. And they left us a government sturdy enough to preserve our liberties and flexible enough to meet the challenges of each new age. Those two gifts have brought us a mighty long way. We must stop taking them for granted, even putting them at risk, for fleeting advantage.”

END QUOTE.

The text I cut in the middle is also worth reading, as it tackles the problems we are facing today and delineates an agenda that includes:

– protecting our elections, fighting gerrymandering

– helping typically underserved communities, be they rural or urban, achieve parity through modernisation of broadband services and access to clean water and efficient transportation

– a fairer tax code that encourages economic development in left-behind areas

– immigration reform

– better police training and sensible gun laws

– climate change and environmental defense

– fighting the opioid crisis

– reordering defense spending to include cyber warfare.

Disclaimer: any mistakes in quoting this book are Marie-Anne’s only. She decided herself to post it here, and hopes not to get sued by its publisher…..

 

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