What must America do to effectively respond to the multiple crises that confront us as a nation today? Political writer William Greider's answer can be summed up in two words: Grow up!
A staunch critic of the economic establishment, Greider has his own, contrarian ideas of how government should move to reestablish credit and restore order to the American banking system.
A former managing editor for the Washington Post, Greider has contributed to six "Frontline" documentaries on PBS, and is now the National Affairs correspondent for The Nation. This first-hand experience has made him keenly aware of the role that consolidation of media ownership in this country has played in fomenting our current crises.
In his newest book, Come Home America, Greider offers both an analysis of the cultural and political missteps that have contributed to the current crises we face, as well as some no nonsense ideas for ways to recover and move forward. Here's an excerpt from the opening pages:
"I HAVE SOME HARD THINGS TO SAY about our country. Beyond recession and financial crisis, we are in much deeper trouble than many people suppose or the authorities want to acknowledge. Because I think Americans always deal better with adversity if they have a clear understanding of what they are confronting, this book will address the gloomy circumstances and rough passage I see ahead for the American people.
"Everything around us is changing, and Americans must change, too. First, we must be honest with ourselves, face the hard facts, and put aside some comforting myths. Then, we must find the nerve to take responsibility again for our country and democracy. Taking responsibility means having the courage to step up and reclaim our power as citizens. We have to relearn what many in earlier generations knew: how to assert our own ideas and values on what the future should look like, how to make ourselves heard amid the empty noise of politics, how to assert our convictions as aggressively as necessary to alter the course of history.
"Americans will get through this. Our country has been through far worse in the past. We can emerge from it in promising new ways, not necessarily richer, but wiser and joined more closely together as a people, more able to realize fulfilling lives. If we do the hard work. If we change.
"WE LIVE IN A COUNTRY where telling the hard truth with clarity has become taboo. Its implications are too alarming. Any politician who says aloud what some of them know or feel in their guts is vilified as defeatist or unpatriotic. Many are clueless, of course, and others are too scared to raise forbidden subjects. I understand their silence and I do not forgive them.
"This book is about hard truths that were mostly not addressed during the long and intensely reported campaign for the presidency. A few marginal candidates did challenge the orthodox version of American greatness, but their also-ran status ensured they would not be widely heard. Most politicians looked the other way and stuck to familiar themes of patriotic optimism. The news media did not help much, either, by generally adhering to conventional thinking and ignoring dissenting opinions. Under these circumstances, citizens are more or less on their own, and remarkably, they do often find their way to the truth about things. In these very difficult times, I hope this book will help them."
William Greider's previous books include Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy, and Secrets of the Temple, an inside look at the Federal Reserve Board.