Nitty Gritty, Worth Every Penny to Any Voter,
January 19, 2003
I’ve chosen this book, together with Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men” and Greg Palast’s “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” to end a lecture I give on the top 50 books every American should read in order to understand why America is not safe today and will not become safe anytime soon, unless the people take back the power and restore common sense to how we spend the $500 billion a year that is now *mis-spent* on the military-industrial complex instead of real capabilities for a real world threat.Mark Green knows as much as anyone could know about the intricate ways in which the existing system provides for *legally* buying elected representatives away from the citizens’ best interests. The details he provides in this book–as well as the moderate success stories where reforms have worked–are necessary.The bottom line is clear: until the 60% of America that is eligible to vote but does not vote, comes back into the democracy as active participants who question candidates, vote for candidates, and hold elected representatives accountable *in detail and day to day,* then corporate corruption will continue to rule the roost and will continue to concentrate wealth in the hands of an unreasonably wealthy few at the expense of the general public.
Although I found the book inspiring, I also found it depressing. Absent another 9-11 (or two–or suicidal shooters in an elementary school in every state of the union, or cataclysmic failure in Iraq and North Korea) I see no immediate prospects for America’s dropped-out citizens “awakening” and taking back the power. There is still time for corporate money to get smart, pump a little more down to the poor, and avoid a revolution at the polls.