October 20, 2018
Those words in the title came from the author of "Trump’s America," Newt Gingrich, at a speech he gave in Philadelphia earlier this year. After hearing that, I felt a sense of relief that Newt Gingrich, one of the most prolific authors and powerful politicians in America, had given me permission to be confused and disoriented about what is happening in America today. "Trump’s America" should help with the confusion.
Whenever I read a book, I first go to the reviews to find the meat and potato reviewers. They dive deep into the book, dissect, analyze, scrutinize, critique, and then give their opinions. You know the ones: Amazon’s Top Reviewers. These people are so good at what they do, they even have reviewers who review their reviews. Confused? So am I, but it’s okay; the alternative to confusion is delusion. I heard that somewhere.
The reviews for "Trump’s America" were a disappointment. Eighty-six percent (86%) of the reviews were five stars. That’s impressive, but as I perused through the eighteen pages of five star reviews, I found mostly one-liners: “worthwhile read” and “excellent read” and “well written” and “love the book” and “enjoyed Newt’s views.” Details please. I want details; why did you like this book so much that you gave it five stars? On page 19--YAY!--I found an Amazon Top 1,000 reviewer who offered up six starch and meaty paragraphs reviewing Mr. Gingrich’s latest book about Trump’s America. I very much appreciated a review with substance. (I will add that most of six one-star reviews were ridiculous with comments like “pure garbags and unreadable,” and “Drivel – not worth your time.”)
You may disagree with what Newt Gingrich has written in this book but it is far, far, far from drivel. I’ve read it once and I’m going back to the beginning to read it again. (Unlike most of the five-star reviewers, I cannot absorb it all in one read and pop out a two-word “good book” review.) Let’s not forget that Mr. Gingrich is an educator, historian, a political icon and quite possibly a genius. This book is incredibly well researched, and it covers most of the current topics that concern America today, some of which are so controversial, they appear to be powerful driving forces that are dividing us into separate tribes: them (evil) vs. us (good).
Speaking of powerful driving forces that separate and divide, it has been said that before Donald Trump and his bombastic approach to getting his way there was Newt Gingrich. In the November 2018 issue of "The Atlantic," McKay Coppins writes about the man who broke politics. For those of us old enough to remember the 1980’s, this revelation is not a surprise. Coppins reports that “Newt Gingrich turned partisan battles into blood sport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump’s rise.” The old order, the Congress that believed in civility, decorum, deliberation, legislating (getting things done) and compromise had to go. A young congressman from Georgia believed that in order to win, you had to stop being nice: be mean, angry, combative, nasty. Pick sides. Form Tribes. Don't be friends with the enemy. That was the war cry of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich encouraged the Republicans to attack their enemies with nicknames like “Daffy Dukakis” and “the looney left.” They were provided with words to use when describing Democrats: sick, pathetic, lie, anti-flag, traitors, radical, and corrupt.”
Newt Gingrich has been saying for four decades that if we don’t defeat the enemy--the Democrats--then we are all doomed. Trump, with his bombastic, hits-ten-times-harder, bullying, name-calling, take-no-prisoners, wrecking-ball approach to the presidency is the answer. We must elect Trump again because he is our only hope to survive the doomsday aftermath of a Democrat win in 2018 and 2020. “The key for Trump’s America in 2018 and beyond,” says Gingrich, “is to recognize we are in the fight of our lives against a well-financed, heavily organized, extremely militant coalition of people who despise us and the country for which we stand. Doing nothing guarantees America is taken over by this militant left-wing establishment coalition that will use mob violence, news media propaganda, and government power to coerce the rest of us into submitting to their worldview."
I was going to give this book five stars until Mr. Gingrich went down that road of attacking the left so viciously. I subtracted one star because of the author’s portrayal of the other side as being something akin to evil. There is no evil here, only differences in opinion on how this already-great country should be run. The masses and majority of people on the right and left are good people. Let me say that again: WE. ARE. GOOD. PEOPLE. Are there those who believe the end justifies the means and will do bad things to achieve their agenda? Yes! And they are in both camps: liberal and conservative and everything in-between. Most Americans share the same values; we are more alike than we are different. Read the above "fighting" words again. It's meant to incite; it's meant to enrage; it's a call to battle. Words matter, and when you use words like “mob violence” and “extremely militant” and “they despise us and the country” and “militant left-wing” and “government power to coerce” you know full well what you are doing--it's a battle call to fight the enemy--and because of that you are one of the forces attempting to divide this country. There are no enemies here. We are all in this together. We need to work together to build bridges, not burn them. Attacking, name-calling, and encouraging members of your party to not walk across the aisle to work with the other side is unconscionable and indefensible. If our Congress does not find a way to cross the abyss to work together, and if Americans can't stop hating each other, then, yes, we are doomed.