I have been pondering David Brooks, the “conservative columnist” of the New York Times, and his latest lament about politics in America. Brooks is the author of a popular and incredibly innocuous book, Bobos in Paradise, and another book, The Social Animal, which just got panned by his own newspaper.
Brooks wrote a column this week about how people are not really involved or interested in politics to the extent that he thinks they should be. As a result, he wrote that both parties were taking the country toward a path that he actually compared to the former Soviet Union.
The I-didn’t-even-call-anyone-let-alone-talk-to-any- real-people-because-I-sat-at-my-desk column can be read and dismissed at http://nyti.ms/myF90T
If you have already used up your 20 clicks before paying for content on the New York Times website or don’t have a free account as we academics do, I will quote liberally from this blather:
….the two parties are about to run utterly familiar political campaigns. The Democrats are going to promise to raise taxes on the rich to preserve the welfare state, just as they have since 1980. The Republicans are going to vow to cut taxes and introduce market mechanisms to reform the welfare state, just as they have since 1980.
The country is about to be offered the same two products: one from Soviet Production Facility A (the Republicans), and the other from Soviet Production Facility B (the Democrats). It will react just as it always has….
Harper back: I don’t see extensive experience in his biography with the former Soviet Union. To compare the current American political system with the Soviets is just b*******.
In Brooks’ continuing blather about the American political system, he wrote:
Americans have lost faith in the credibility of their political system, which is the one resource the entire regime is predicated upon. This loss of faith has contributed to a complex but dark national mood. The country is anxious, pessimistic, ashamed, helpless and defensive.
Harper back: America may be anxious and somewhat pessimistic these days, but this country will NEVER be ashamed, helpless and defensive!
I have lived in Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia, where politics are taken as seriously as sports. I would suggest that Brooks come down to the 8th District of Philadelphia, where seven candidates are vying to represent an area of African Americans and wealthy whites in the City Council. The district stretches from Chestnut Hill, a wealthy enclave in Northwest Philadelphia, to one of the poorest, Nicetown-Tioga in North Philadelphia. The district includes Germantown, a predominantly African-American community and Mount Airy, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city.
Last night the candidates met for their first debate during the primary, where voters will make their choice on May 17. All seven candidates are Democrats in the heavily Democratic area, but they include business people, government insiders and even an electrician with an outside chance of winning. I would suggest that Brooks come see democracy alive and well, where people are not ashamed, helpless and defensive. He can read about the debate. which attracted a large crowd at http://bit.ly/m8fSpg
He can read our continuing coverage at http://bit.ly/lBJGAN
Philadelphia is where this nation began. Brooks should come on down to see politics from the street level. Brooks needs to burn a little shoe leather to find out what people really think about democracy rather than ordering up lunch from behind his desk. I remember one of my heroes, the late Mike Royko, hitting the streets of Chicago almost every day.
I know that the Times is having financial troubles and Brooks’ expense account may be low, but the Bolt Bus to Philly is only $8 if he buys early. I will treat him to BBQ at the Rib Crib in Germantown if he comes down.