My Liberal Education: How I Survived the First Four Years of George W. Bush

My Liberal Education: How I Survived the First Four Years of George W. Bush

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by Elizabeth James
     
 

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DAVIDSON, N.C. author Elizabeth James' humorous and thought-provoking novel, My Liberal Education: How I Survived the First Four Years of George W. Bush , details a career move to a red state and a series of eye-opening adventures which spark a political awakening for an aspiring journalist in the dawn of the current Republican reign.

Pandora Duncan is an

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Overview

DAVIDSON, N.C. author Elizabeth James' humorous and thought-provoking novel, My Liberal Education: How I Survived the First Four Years of George W. Bush , details a career move to a red state and a series of eye-opening adventures which spark a political awakening for an aspiring journalist in the dawn of the current Republican reign.

Pandora Duncan is an attractive, 25-year-old "heterosexual of average intelligence" who leaves a progressive family in urban Baltimore to advance her journalism career at a small-town North Carolina newspaper. The action spans the first four years of the George W. Bush administration as it follows Pan's development from an apolitical, self-absorbed woman without direction to a mature liberal activist.

The transformation takes place as Pan interacts with a diverse group of people: Ethan Earnest, her idealistic young boss; Caroline Evans, her evangelical officemate from the religious right; the Walton family, her black neighbors; Joelle and Carlos Figueroa, a conservative Hispanic couple; and Dr. Jerry Dobbs, a Texan orthopedic surgeon, who is cautiously middle-of-the-road politically and competes with Ethan for Pan's affection. Billie and Lizz, a committed lesbian couple, round out the story and teach Pan about love and inclusiveness. My Liberal Education explores a myriad of topics as Pan experiences romance, religious soul-searching, violence, danger, mystery and tragedy. As she navigates her Republican-dominated reality, she also struggles with such life-changing events as Sept. 11th and the eruption of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While the tone is often-humorous, raunchy and satirical, the intent of this book is deadly serious: to explore every American's responsibility to be informed, to take a stand on vital issues and to honor citizenship and safeguard democracy with the same passion one brings to personal relationships.

Set in lush, Southern surroundings that add a rich layer of atmosphere, My Liberal Education is a politically charged story with both sensitivity and bite.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781420888515
Publisher:
Authorhouse
Publication date:
01/28/2006
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.03(d)

Read an Excerpt

Pandora's quotes...
Myself...My parents hope that when life opens up my box, instead of releasing sorrow, disease, and conflict to mankind, wonderful things will fly out...and I'm eager to form some philosophy about the why of my existence. So far, I don't have a clue.

God... is the fearsome, white-bearded figure floating in the clouds at the very top of the stained glass window. He smells of incense and lemon oil rubbed into old wooden pews, and He sounds like people coughing into their hymnals and an organ always slightly out of tune.

Faith... my indoctrination had been minimal at best...our pastor never claimed to know God's mind, especially on hot-button topics like abortion, homosexuality, or the right to die. We learned it was wrong to kill, steal, or covet our neighbors' wives, but all those taboos seemed like perfectly sensible conclusions to be drawn by any secular society, not edicts from Heaven.

Abortion... I did not relish the idea of a bunch of old farts telling me what I could or could not do with my body. While I doubted I would ever abort a pregnancy, that decision must remain between my Maker and myself, not regulated by Big Brother.

Soccer moms... I tried to care about man-pleasing recipes and what kind of flowers I'd choose for my wedding, but those concepts made me so nervous I wanted to throw up. What if God had forgotten some essential ingredient that would make me a real woman?

Abstinence... The Christian Right believes in abstinence, not birth control, and that homosexuality, abortion, and masturbation should never be discussed at all. They claim pregnancy prevention drugs or the morning after pill will make women promiscuous. Do they hate sex? It's a wonder they even make babies.

War in Iraq... I saw fireworks exploding above ancient mosques, governmental palaces, and unsuspecting neighborhoods. I heard the hollow, deep-in-your-belly thuds of bombs detonating, the shrill whistle of missiles, and suddenly I was crying. We were doing this. My country was attacking a sovereign nation without provocation, against the will of the UN Security Council, against the will of half the American people.

George W. Bush... A larger-than-life Bush face filled the muted TV screen, and it explained that Shock and Awe had begun. As I watched his small mouth working, I was amazed, not for the first time, how our president could look so worried, smug, and stupid all at once.

Fall of the middle class... Bush desired a nation of Masters and Peons (pronounced pee-ons). The Masters, including the president's buddies, would benefit from the tax cuts, the repeal of the inheritance tax, and the relaxation of environmental regulations. They would ignore the Peons' health care, send their jobs overseas, eliminate their social programs, cut funding for their education, and remove their safety net, while cheap imported labor would clean the Masters' kitchens and country clubs.

The Masters would limit the awards in lawsuits, no matter how mal their practice (so the Peons couldn't sue their butts off), and in the end, the Masters would dominate the world.

In the meantime, the Peons would get poorer, sicker, dumber, and more dependent on the noblesse oblige of Faith-Based Charities. They would be shamed or banished by the so-called Moral Majority should they dare to practice an alternative lifestyle or worship the wrong God, and they'd be programmed by fear, so they would line up to fight the Masters' wars.

Hog lots... It's not only my problem that much of North Carolina is drowning in hog shit. I didn't force the family farmer out of business to make room for the big CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) I couldn't help it that only one hog generates ten times as much feces as one human...

Don't blame me because they dump twenty-five million gallons of untreated pig yuck into holding lagoons that stink to high heaven, drive down the real estate prices for miles around, and overflow to contaminate the air, rivers, and streams. Is it my fault they spray the liquid shit onto the fields, which become so toxic the grass would kill any animal stupid enough to graze...?

War on Terror... George W. Bush described his war on terror as a crusade. I thought about America's profound distrust of Muslims, the bloody history of religious wars throughout the centuries, and the lyrics to Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war...with the cross of Jesus, going on before. The words conjured up images of the Ku Klux Klan burning Jesus' cross as they marched with hatred for blacks, Jews...anyone different from themselves. When those activities became politically incorrect, maybe those same fanatics joined the Right Wing army and redirected their vitriol?

Gay Marriage... I was 100% for gay marriage, but feared the topic might become the fly on the donkey's ass come the next election, a fly the Democrats couldn't shoo away with the flick of the tail.

Gays had endured exclusion, persecution, prosecution, and even execution, yet they had survived with courage, dignity, and disdain for the narrow morals and traditional morays that had made their lives a misery. And I asked myself, after years of being shunned by the marriage Club, why would anyone want to join that Club?

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