Review: The Change I Believe In

4 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Congress (Failure, Reform), Economics, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Politics
Amazon Page

Katrina Vanden Heuvel

4.0 out of 5 stars At full reading, disappointing, October 30, 2011

After a full reading:

Disappointing. Some authors, George Will comes to mind, do well with their recycled Op-Ed columns. I’ve reduced this to four stars because it just does not add up for me. At least the price was right. The “current news” nature of the author’s opinion pieces simply does not bode well for their reshuffling in book form. Here are the Parts, but disconcertingly the pieces within the parts are not in chronological order, for example, a piece written in 2002 is at the end of one part.

Part I: Obama and Progressive America. Very disappointing. Weak gasps of disbelief as the white half of Obama, bought and paid for by Goldman Sachs, wallowed in business as usual.

Part II: A New Economic Narrative. There are gems here, but on balance the author skirts around the two words that matter: CORRUPTION (rules in Washington) and INTEGRITY (not to be found in Washington).

Part III: Herding Elephants. Unbalanced. Right-wing witch hunt against ACORN? Please. What especially irks me at this point is the author’s blind acceptance of the two-party tyranny — right bad, left good, never mind the broad middle.

Part IV: Toward a New National Security. The author has no idea what national security is, nor how to achieve it. She should stay completely away from this topic, or do interviews with people like Chuck Spinney, Winslow Wheeler, Ralph Peters, Robert Young Pelton, myself, among others.

Part V: Reconstructing the Social Contract. Unbalanced. A real mixed bag that focuses mostly on jobs, I do like the piece on legalizing marijuana, but there is so much more the author could have done if she approached her writing with a strategic analytic model — nothing in this book on education, energy, family, health, immigration.

Part VI: Perfecting Our Democracy. This is easily my favorite section, with Reversing Citizens United and A time for Resistance (in honor of a French manifesto to the young for human social and economic rights) at the top of the list. However, what is missing here–or rather what is present here–is a complete vacuum. One cannot learn from this section that 43% of the voting public in the USA considers themselves Independent; that there are 63 other political parties blocked from ballot access; or that Mike Bloomberg toyed with running for President using NO LABELS (quickly laughed into oblivion) and Americans Elect (scorned into oblivion).

Part VII: Reflections. Interesting to read, and the one word that kept coming into my mind was “naive?” “naive?” “naive?” Writing about the rule of law when it was being violated by Bush-Cheney, one gets no sense that the author recogizes that Obama is Bush III.

I confess, while respecting what the author does and how she does it, I am less of a fan after this book than before. The author does best en passant.

What I wrote before:

I am a huge fan of the author, and was starting to get really upset with Amazon when I could only find the Kindle edition which does NOT point to the paperback edition that we old folk (59) like to hold in our hands. Amazon is trying too hard to push Kindle and not hard enough to respect the many people who love books in their traditional form.

The book is a potpourri (two steps up from kludge) and every piece she has ever written appears to have been dropping into book form. Normally my preliminary review would be at four stars because the author is still trying too hard to “save” Obama (cannot be done–he sold out, he will not leave the two-party tyranny that has paid for him) and she does not have a strategic analytic model with which to make sense, nor is she willing to consider what the Occupy Wall Street Politics & Environmental Reform Working Group calls “fusion teams,” i.e. non-partisan blends of the best people, end the winner take all Cabinet form. I write this as I sit in the atrium of 60 Wall Street where in a few minutes we will have a two hour meeting to consider both a Statement of Demand to be circulated to all Occupy groups for consideration, along with the outline of the Electoral Reform Act of 2012. If the two months effort is successful, on 5 January 2012, across the land, at every Occupy site in America, there will be a simultaneous reading of the Statement of Demand, setting a deadline of 15 February 2012 for passage of the act. Between now and then we will make it quite clear to every Senator and every Representative that they are *toast* if they fail to pass the act, and those that reject it out of hand now (I am trying to get it introduced in the Senate next week, to start taking the pulse of the Hill), will be impeached, recalled, or simply hounded out of office.

It is in this context that I rise to salute this author, who comments on electoral reform and other alternative measures we can take are inspirational, thought-provoking, and always serious (except when she is too polite and tries too hard not to bite the pig.

Here is the bottom line: NONE OF THE ISSUES MATTER EXCEPT ONE: Electoral Reform. Everything else is a nit, hardly worth discussing, because in the absence of restoring integrity to our electoral system (63 parties shut out, Independents shut out, corruption pervasive at the local, state, and national levels), no single other change (e.g. campaign finance “reform”) will make a difference. Electoral Reform is the SYSTEM change, IMHO.

The Tao of Democracy: Using co-intelligence to create a world that works for all
Conscious Evolution: Awakening Our Social Potential
Getting A Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents (Hardcover))
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity
Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World
The Leadership of Civilization Building: Administrative and civilization theory, Symbolic Dialogue, and Citizen Skills for the 21st Century
Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, poems and prayers from an emerging field of sacred social change