I am about 60% through William Greider’s excellent 2009 book, “Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country.” The book covers much more than economics, although the need for economic and political reform is laid out very clearly. He opens the first chapter with a clarion call to the United States: “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.” However, Mr. Greider has much faith in the people of our country to effect change, once we become informed about the depth of our difficulties and are willing to overlook the simplistic (sometimes misleading) slogans and surface changes put forth by political pundits and some (not all) of our politicians.
In the book, he describes the roots of our present difficulties – the flow of wealth upwards from the middle class to the wealthy at the top; the deregulation of the financial industry; the lack of public morality in big business and its belief in profit as a god; the growing investment (and trust) in our giant military machine and its supporting industries; the willingness of the electorate to be moved by catchy slogans and cultural myths rather than informed analysis, and the growing influence of capital wealth on both political parties in varying degrees. However, Mr. Greider explains that he does NOT wish to engage in mere finger-pointing, only explain what has been happening and where we seem to be going. And he trusts that, once informed and organized, we the ordinary people CAN bring about system change to rehabilitate our democracy.
In my own opinion, democracy brings great freedom – but it also brings an equal responsibility for “right living” (in both individuals and institutions) and the need to hold our elected representatives responsible for serving in the public interest, instead of the interests of “big business” and the military establishment. Mr. Greider has published a marvelous book – and considering how heavy the topics can seem, he is optimistic about what we as a people can do.
More later – in time, I’ll post a more detailed summary of the book. Please “stay tuned” to this website.