The sage of Minnesota and America's modern-day Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor, eloquently, seriously, and in his highly readable and listenable trademark style, describes his view of the role of government in America in a 2004 book: Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts from the Heart of America, published by Viking (book ordering and info link at the bottom of this post).
As a general policy, I don't write about politics here, however, as Mr. Keillor points out: "Dante said that the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral." I agree with both Dante and Keillor. The author explains, far better than I have ever attempted, why he -- and I -- are proud to be Democrats.
I purchased this book during the intermission of a live broadcast of Keillor's national radio program on NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, in front of a capacity audience at the Concordia College Fieldhouse in Moorhead, Minnesota, on October 9, 2004.
At that time, the country was in the middle of President George W. Bush's bid for re-election and he was being challenged by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam War Veteran. The Senator was being pilloried by Republican "Swift Boat" attackers for his military service, even though he was honored with a Purple Heart. He was wounded in the process of taking life-risking actions to save lives under his command. At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church was denying Senator Kerry communion because he believed a woman's decisions about her body were between herself, her God, and her doctor.
Keillor brings home some points all Americans should think about, particularly those caught-up in the Tea Party "no government" rage. He - and millions of us, including Tea Partiers - have greatly benefited from laws and programs initiated and supported by Democrats.
For example, coming from a family of very modest means in Anoka, Minnesota, Keillor received his higher education at the University of Minnesota, an institution created by the Morrill Act of 1862. I also went to school there while working at KSTP Radio-TV in Minneapolis-St. Paul. I started college in another public institution created by Morrill's subsequent companion, the Agricultural College Act of 1890: North Dakota Agricultural College, now North Dakota State University.
Keillor was employed as an announcer at KUOM, the campus station, while I worked across town in the announcing booths of the local NBC affiliate. One might say I was off to a rabbit-like start compared to Keillor. Alas, in this case, the turtle won: Garrison Keillor has authored a good number of successful books available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. I have none. And, of course, he has a unique and still-going-strong national radio program with over 4 million weekly listeners. I have this blog.
He starts there, with the value of a public education made available to everyone through taxpayer support. He goes on to write about programs such as Medicare, for the elderly, and Medicaid for the poor, and how those programs, as well as Social Security, have helped keep millions of our citizens out of medical and old-age bankruptcy, or in depression-like living conditions.
Keillor says "The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who had risen to power on pure punk politics, nasty, violent, borderline. Bipartisanship is another term for date rape, says (lobbyist) Grover Nordquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub. The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy."
This is a constructive book, particularly valuable to any young person who is trying to figure out government and America's political system before permanent hardening of opinions sets in. In his conclusion, Keillor writes that he has "spoken his piece." And in calling his book to your attention, so have I.
You can get pricing information or order this book through the link below: