Book Review · Politics

Surviving a Trump Presidency: Two “Guides” from Opposite Sides of the Spectrum

Introduction:

Let’s talk politics for a minute.

I wanted this blog to be politics-free, but due to recent events – namely, the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States – I wanted to become more informed of what was around me.

But I was also interested in getting the alternative viewpoint. I am not a so-called “Deplorable,” but I thought reading Todd Starnes The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again would be fair in the interest of inclusivity. I thought it would pair nicely with Gene Stone’s more liberal The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen which I already had sitting in my book queue.

I’m not what you would call a political aficionado, thus I was looking for something that would give a broad overview of what is going on in today’s political landscape and maybe learn something new about the world around me in the process.

Stone’s The Trump Survival Guide

Tistone-gene-the-trump-survival-guide-covertle: The Trump Survival Guide
Author: Gene Stone
Format: eBook, courtesy of Edelweiss and Dey Street Books
Start Date: January 22, 2017
End Date: January 25, 2017
Rating: 3 stars

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to the American ideal that our nation is governed by the majority but never at the expense of the minority.

Technically, I read this book second, but I wanted to talk about it first because I thought it provided a nice overview of the issues plaguing the United States today.

Stone was structured and organized in his approach. He tackled several major issues currently being debated in the United States today, giving a broad, sweeping overview of the issue as it has evolved from the country’s conception, including a section outlining what Barack Obama did, what Donald Trump might do, and suggestions on what the reader might do to get involved and make a difference.

The issues Stone talked about were the following:

  • Civil Rights
  • The Economy
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Entitlement Programs
  • The Environment
  • Immigration
  • LGBTQ Issues
  • National Security
  • Obamacare
  • Political Issues
  • Women’s Issues

Although Gene Stone definitely writes with a liberal bias – note the title of the book – I thought he did a relatively good job of keeping a neutral tone. His writing sought to provide Trump with the benefit of the doubt, merely stating what he has said in the past pertaining to each of these issues. The issues presented are written in such a way that someone who is not so politically-minded or as versed in political verbiage – such as myself – can follow relatively easily. The writing was often slightly repetitive, but that comes from writing about similar issues that often overlap in their scope (e.g. energy and the environment).

I was a little disappointed that the author didn’t include other important issues, such as Veteran Affairs, but in the Conclusion, he did provide links so the reader could learn more information about the various topics.

Stone ended his book with a final thought.

We don’t know what the future holds. At this point we can only conjecture. But more than working on an issue that concerns you, more than joining a demonstration, and more than signing a petition, perhaps the very best way to fight and keep this country a land of dignity and freedom is to show civility and support to all Americans, whatever their gender, race, creed, or color… Appoint yourself the ambassador for the America that you believe in.

This book was interesting but not particularly riveting. The author was organized, succinct, and direct in his explanations, enacting a respectful tone.  Three stars.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Dey Street Books for a free copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.

Starnes’ The Deplorables’ Guide

starnes-todd-the-deplorables-guide-coverTitle: The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again
Author: Todd Starnes
Format: eBook, courtesy of NetGalley
Start Date: January 17, 2017
End Date: January 21, 2017
Rating: 1 star

And now we get to the fun part.

I want to start off by saying thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.

I am giving this book one star. It is not because I do not agree with Starnes (even though I don’t). It is because the organization of this book was poor, making his resulting “arguments” not well-defined or structurally sound. I am also giving this book one star because I felt that the author was trying too hard to reach a certain audience – namely those “deplorables” in the South; to do this he used phrases such as “cook my grits,” which were rather jarring against what I thought was supposed to be a more informational book on today’s political atmosphere. Because of this, I felt that he missed the opportunity to open a dialogue with a greater number of people on both ends of the political spectrum. But that was not the author’s point. The author’s point was to cause controversy by being “politically incorrect” and insulting liberals profusely every chance he got.

The author also failed to really talk about Trump other than noting his Christianity and conservatism (also, ignore the fact that he used to be a Democrat). He did not talk about his disparaging views in his policies. He did not talk about how some of Trump’s ideologies might affect everyday Americans, both positively and negatively. He did not talk about Trump’s campaign nor how he planned on upholding his campaign promises.

But, like I said in the beginning, I decided to read this book to maybe gain some perspective from a conservative’s point of view, and I wanted to stick it through to the end – which I did, barely – even though it was political opinion rather than political fact.

So, if you are looking to challenge your view by reading a book highlighting the conservative point of view in politics, this is probably not the book for you.

Maybe I should have heeded the author’s advice when he said this in the fourth paragraph, rather belittlingly (and even this was mild in comparison to other choice phrases):

So it’s appropriate and neighborly to issue a warning to you, dear reader, especially if you suffer from microaggressions or other liberal social diseases. It’s about to get politically incorrect up in this book.

This entire “book” is a continual stream of justifications showing that white Christians are being persecuted relentlessly, that their rights are being taken away because they are being “forced” to believe things that go against their religion. I could really go on and on about this book – I have a plethora of notes and comments I added in my eBook – but it is, quite frankly, not worth my time.

However, I do have a message to the author:

Todd Starnes –

I am, first and foremost, an American, just like you. The fact that I am liberal shouldn’t matter. The fact that my beliefs differ from yours shouldn’t matter. I am a person, a human being, also just like you. I am Catholic and go to church regularly. I come from a family filled to the brim with patriotic Americans, including police officers and former-military-serving personnel. (My father and uncle served as police officers. That same uncle was also in the Marines. I had two uncles and a grandfather in the Army, another uncle and a cousin in the Coast Guard, and a grandfather in the Navy. My boyfriend was in the Army as well.) I love America, and I love what it stands for and what it continues to stand for as America evolves and continues to grow as we enter 2017.

But the message you promoted in your book was disconcerting. America has always been a “melting pot” of different cultures. As hard as it might be to believe, even the Germans and Irish Catholics were persecuted when they first immigrated to America in the mid-to-late 1800s. These were my ancestors. They might have been yours as well. Today’s increase in technological advancements makes it easier to travel than ever before, and as such, we must embrace and celebrate the cultural diversity of those that come to our doorstep. Does that mean we completely abandon our way of life of the last 240 years? Not quite. But it does mean that we should be tolerant of others and respectful of their beliefs, especially as a Christian.

Also, I don’t appreciate all of the name calling present in the book. Just because someone is liberal and thinks differently than you doesn’t mean they are a snowflake, or that they continually suffer from microagressions, or that they are an “overly sensitive and easily offended millennial.” Sensitivity isn’t a bad thing; it means that someone cares. (Oh wait, sorry, you’re probably thinking that that was an example of me needing my so-called “safe space,” even though you were the one getting offended multiple times throughout the book that there wasn’t a performance of “How Great Thou Art” in the beginning of a high school football game. You are more than welcome to borrow my “safe space” if you need it.)

But again, I digress.

The point I am trying to make, dear author, is that you and the rest of the conservative party (not all of them, I want to be clear, but a good number), are trying to discredit an entire generation by portraying us as fickle, weak-minded, uninformed, easy-to-manipulate-by-the-liberal-media, quick-to-violence, and sensitive snowflakes seeking safe spaces. You accuse us of whining when we don’t get our way. Sure, there are some, as there always are in a group, just like you will always find at least one child in any given supermarket on any given day who is throwing a temper tantrum because they aren’t getting what they want. Face it, there are always at least one or two. But that doesn’t mean you automatically assume that the children who are sitting quietly, the children who are saying “please” and “thank you” to their parents and elders, are the same.

Just like you can’t cast an entire generation using the same mold. Not only is it untrue, but it is unoriginal and uninteresting. We are a diverse people. With the advancement of technology, our world is more interconnected than ever before. We have access to more information at our fingertips than the Founding Fathers could have ever dreamt of.

But that doesn’t mean we are stupid. That doesn’t mean we are lazy. That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve basic inalienable rights, such as equal pay and equal treatment in the workplace, the freedom to worship whoever or whatever we want (even if it is no one) without fear of persecution, the right to have a reasonably-priced education where we don’t come out of college with piles of debt, the right to live our lives without fear of prejudice based on the color of skin instead rather by the content of character.
So, the next time you generalize a whole generation – whether Baby Boomers, Generation X, or Millennials (yes, especially Millennials) – just don’t. Because we are so much more than children throwing temper tantrums. We are strong. We are brave. We are powerful. We are the people. We are united. And we are the ones who are going to make a difference for the generations to come.

Sincerely,

A Proud Liberal Snowflake Seeking Solidarity xo

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