more politics & less prose

This afternoon I made my first trip to the infamous DC bookstore Politics & Prose, a hotspot where intellectuals and politically savvy middle age men gather and debate current events.  I woke up this morning to an achingly beautiful day, but could not muster the energy to compose a sightseeing agenda.  I knew I needed to get outside and savor the clear sky and calm air, so I merged an errand with an exploratory adventure: visit Politics & Prose and find my dad a birthday present.

I decided to walk instead of metro, so I donned some comfortable shoes (Uggs) and a fuzzy scarf (bright pink) and headed out.  Just being outside put me into a wonderful mood, and I made a big effort to look at my surroundings as I walked instead of the sidewalk under my feet.  It’s about 2 miles from my apartment to the bookstore, and I stretched it out to 45 minutes.  I stopped frequently to look at and document Fall’s brave last stand against winter, leaves blazing in the sun and trying desperately to stay on their trees.

When I finally got to the purple-awned bookstore, I was thrilled to discover that inside, it was every book-lover’s dream: shelves and shelves filled to bursting with the well known, classic, obscure, nonsensical, whimsical, purposeful, comical, playful, daring, disturbing, mysterious, moving.  It’s a bookstore that is stocked based on its’ owners preferences, not what is most popular or recently released.  There must have been a book in stock to answer any single political question that has ever been or is being asked; one finds herself perusing the shelves and realizing that there are answers to questions she didn’t even know had been asked!  What an overwhelming, exciting feeling.

I spent over an hour wandering around the store, looking at various books that caught my eye.  If I had the money and strength to carry them home, I would have left with no less than 9 books.  I exercised extreme self control, however, and only purchased a hefty non fiction on the 4 Supreme Court Justices active during FDR’s presidency for my father.  As I was checking out, I noticed that a little podium had been set up, with about 25 chairs lined up in front.  I asked the rather unfriendly lady at the cash register who was speaking, and she snarled a name at me before helping the next customer.

The guest happened to be a Dana Millbank, author of Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America.  I decided to stay and watch, since the books’ title included “tea bagging” (hahaha!!) and I had nothing else to do.  (One of the great things about Politics & Prose is that they feature regular appearances and book signings from guest authors–at least one a day, usually.)  I’m not very familiar with Mr. Beck, but I’m liberal and he’s conservative so I’m guessing we wouldn’t get along.  I was more than a little disgusted, however, to watch this Dana Millbank stand up and immediately launch into a thorough bashing of Glenn Beck and everything he stands for.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve done a little more research on Glenn Beck, and as anticipated, I do not like him very much.  He seems like a 7th grade girl who jealously spreads false rumors and disguises personal attacks as impartial exposures that benefit the greater good.  (Last week, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, Beck attacked George Soros using rhetoric drenched in anti-Semitism and based on nothing legitimate.)  Dana Millbank’s book examines Beck and seeks to undermine his authority by questioning his “patriotism” and “loyalty” to the United States.  In his talk today, Millbank shared story after story that showed why Beck was a terrible person and has a terrible influence on our country today.

Okay, so great.  Mr. Millbank spent many months gathering these stories, writing them down, editing them, getting them published, and now promoting them.  WHY?!?  Mr. Beck is going to have a radio and TV show no matter what.  His followers are going to follow him no matter what.  Doesn’t Mr. Millbank know how difficult it is to change people’s political opinions?  One measly little book is not going to do that, especially when the title  gives away the authors’ liberal leaning so glaringly that no Republican is going to buy it.

I think this issue epitomizes American politics today.  The US faces a debt so staggering I can’t even wrap my mind around it.  Unemployment is still sky high.  Our education standards are lagging compared to the rest of the West (and East).  The political world is riddled with scandal.  Disgruntled people from every region, every background, every religion, every race want to blow our country up.  And all that voters, politicians, commentators are doing is pointing fingers.

Don’t we have more important things to worry about than undermining Glenn Beck?  Because for every book written about Glenn Beck, another one will be written about Rachel Maddow.  And honestly, that gets us nowhere.  Because no matter what the world thinks of Glenn Back and Rachel Maddow, we still have a trillion dollar debt and unemployed people.  Why don’t we stop arguing about who did what wrong, and just figure out how we’re going to fix it?  Maybe Mr. Millbank could have come up with a viable solution to the gang problem in DC, or spent some time screening print cartridges coming into the US instead of writing his book.  Making conservative Beck look bad doesn’t exactly make liberal Millbank look good– they both just come out looking like 7th grade girls with self-confidence problems and fingers that are quick to point anywhere but themselves.  I’m tired of the degrading and blaming and trash talking that is rampant among politicians today.  WHO CARES THAT JIM BOEHNER IS TAN YEAR ROUND?!?!  Do you?  Because I don’t.  So please stop talking about his glowing skin and tell me what he’s going to do better than Nancy Pelosi to get our country back on the right track.

I have reached the end of my rant.  Thank you for sticking it through.

Politics & Prose is a wonderful bookstore.  Go there instead of a big chain because they have the most phenomenal collection of books and a wonderful series of authors who come in and give little chats.  You can also sit at the adorable coffeeshop downstairs and argue with other patrons about whether Representative Boehner goes to a tanning bed or just uses sunless tanning lotion.

Just kidding.


One Response

  1. Hopefully it’s a spray tan. I don’t want any of MY government leaders using tanning beds–so irresponsible.

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