Two Books to Read RIght Now

On the eve of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, and just post the Republicans’ gathering in Tampa, and only a couple of months before we’re required to cast votes for everything from President on down, I recommend a couple of good reads, for distinctly different reasons.

You’ll know Martha Burk, recently vindicated in her efforts to get women into the membership at the Augusta National Golf Club. Back in 2003, reacting to death threats, Martha wore a bullet-proof vest and was bracketed by body guards when she spoke publicly, spearheading the campaign.  While she is quick to share the credit, the invitations to Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore this summer accrue to Martha’s political heft.  She was then Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations–and still directs its Corporate Accountability Project.

Her book, Your Voice, Your Vote, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Power, Politics, and the Change We Need, 2012 Edition is a sobering and informative reminder of exactly what’s at stake in November and why we need to gin up our courage. Among the many reasons:

Over the next four years, the president could appoint at least two and perhaps as many as six Supreme Court justices, setting the course of law as it affects women for a generation or more….If  those new justices do not believe in the basic rights of women, the right to abortion will be overturned, and other gains of the twentieth century, such as protection against discrimination in employment, education, pregnancy and credit could be rolled back or eliminated, one by by one. Martha Burk

Joan Walsh is my favorite television expert.  Holding forth on many of MSNBC’s programs and also Editor-at-Large at Salon.com, Walsh can always be counted on for smart, reasonable comment on the often outrageous rumble-and-tumble of cable news.
Her new book, What’s the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was  does an excellent job of explaining why we’re all so mad.
Told from the vantage point of her own Irish Catholic family, Walsh believes that the current “Middle Class” has forgotten (or their descendants never knew) how much help they had (The GI Bill, education, suburban housing and mortgages to afford them–building wealth) and that therefore the resentment of others who got/get assistance is misplaced. Nevertheless:
It’s true: white Americans will technically be a minority by midcentury….There are signs that some white people, at least, aren’t taking it all that well. Joan Walsh
It’s a great interpretation of at least some of the bellicosity in our country as we try to elect a president.

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