The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics

The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics

by Michael Bennet


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“Cowardice, corruption, close-mindedness, cruelty—harsh words, but singly or together they explain most of what does or doesn’t happen in Washington. Tens of millions of Americans share a conviction that, as a people, we’re better than this. They share a hope that their government, too, might someday be better than what we have. This book is about that hope as well.”—Senator Michael Bennet

Everything Is in Our Hands (a powerful phrase from the conclusion of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time”) is a unique contribution to American political writing. Distinguished Democratic Senator Michael Bennet lifts a veil on the U.S. Senate, and chronicles the dramatic full stories behind five decisions crucial to all Americans, each of which exemplifies the partisan politics that are upending our democracy and the American people.

  • The highly politicized nominations and appointments of judges at all levels, including the block of Merrick Garland and Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court controversy.
  • The blind shredding of the Iran nuclear deal that undermined our longstanding bipartisan approach to foreign policy.
  • The appalling corruption of money in politics and why it is directly connected to complete inaction on climate change.
  • The recent tax cut that massively increased the national debt as well as financial inequality across the country.
  • The ugly sabotage by a minority in Congress of the bi-partisan plan that would have reformed our immigration policies years ago and resolved the issues we currently face.

    By revealing how these decisions were truly made—reminding readers what was said, by whom, in what context—and by providing substantive suggestions for ending our hyper-partisan politics, Bennet will inspire Americans of all political persuasions to demand that the winners of political debate be the American people, not one party or the other.

  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780802147813
    Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
    Publication date: 06/04/2019
    Pages: 304
    Sales rank: 129,951
    Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

    About the Author

    Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since 2009. Recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by an obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. Michael has built a reputation of taking on Washington dysfunction and working with Republicans and Democrats to address our nation’s greatest challenges—including education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security. Before serving in the Senate, Michael worked to restructure failing businesses and helped create the world’s largest movie theater chain. As superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, he led one of the most extensive reform efforts in the country, resulting in substantial, sustained academic improvement for Denver’s children. He lives in Denver with his wife and three daughters.


    Read an Excerpt

    If we imagine someone whose political awareness began in 2010, the stories told here illustrate the only political conditions they know. For someone in their twenties who may have missed out on a serious American history class, Washington politics look like those of a nation slouching toward despair, dysfunction, maybe even despotism. With every month that goes by, it becomes more difficult to remember an American government that functions in any other way. As a people, we deserve to know that in the United States there once were, and can still be, better courses.

    It is easy for the burden of present circumstance to convince us that we are in a dark hour. But we must also be honest enough to admit that as a nation we have faced challenges greater than this. We are not at our radio on the morning of December 7, hoping that President Roosevelt can help us see our way from an unprovoked attack through to the conclusion of yet another World War. We are not enslaved as human beings or enslaving other human beings. We are not in the throes of civil war or torn apart by armed partisans and lynch mobs trying to roll back the progress of Reconstruction. Rather we are, as we have been many times before, at political loggerheads and wondering, rightly, what we can do to emerge as a stronger union.

    I think often about the words of James Baldwin, written deep in the crisis years of the American civil-rights movement: “And here we are, at the center of the arc, trapped in the gaudiest, most valuable, and most improbable water wheel the world has ever seen. Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise.” '

    Yes, everything now is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise.

    Table of Contents

    Prologue vii

    The Accidental Senator 1

    Power Play 31

    The Corruption of Inaction 72

    Giving Away the Store 115

    No Prophets in Our Time 160

    The Test of a Free People 205

    Acting Like Founders 239

    Four Freedoms 266

    The American Dream 273

    For Further Reading 283

    Acknowledgments 292

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