The author spent four years visiting with political extremists on both sides of the spectrum. These are people who believe in nothing less than total victory for their side. Most Americans are moderates on the issues, but, for instance, pro-life and anti-war activists still see things as very black and white.
Beckerman discovered a lot of interesting things in his travels. Betty Friedan, founder of the National Organization for Women, compared American housewives to "the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps." Those on the Right blame homosexuality for the destruction of American society, but just over half of Americans think of homosexuality as an acceptable life-style. Texas A&M University requires that all faculty members "celebrate and promote" homosexuality.
"It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact."--Ann Coulter. The American Institute for Philanthropy has ranked MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) as one of the most corrupt and least effective charities in the country. In 2006, the California Supreme Court allowed authorities to break into citizens’ homes anytime--without a warrant--to check their blood alcohol levels. A legislator in Missouri compared biology teachers to terrorists, for teaching evolution. Environmental activists have demanded control over citizens’ home thermostats, threatened to spy on those who do not recycle and suggested that governments should intelligently reduce human populations to one-sixth their present number.
In 2006, the Bush Administration joined with Iran to ban a gay-rights group from addressing the United Nations. In 2004, Canada officially banned criticism of homosexuality, which is now punishable by up to five years in prison. Also in 2006, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that forcing drug suspects to consume laxatives, in order to find drugs in their digestive tracts, is not an "unreasonable search." In the 1990’s, a Republican member of Congress proposed mandating the death penalty for all drug dealers. When his son was convicted of growing thirty marijuana plants, he received community service, not a lethal injection. Neither side has a monopoly on hatred of free speech.
This is the sort of book that will be thrown across the room by True Believers on both sides (sometimes those are the best kind of books). For everyone else, it is an excellent, and eye opening, look at the state of politics in America. It is very much worth reading.
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