I have started blogging -- clumsily and irregularly -- but my sister Nancy Gluck is way out ahead of me as a blogger. Yikes. Now she is blogging my new book, chapter by chapter. Nancy is five years older and more advanced in many other ways. Tenaciously bright, she loves books and reads always with a critical sensibility (she teaches Lifetime Learning courses too).
I read her entries with some trepidation. But she is treating me gently. SO FAR. Big sisters will do that for you. I am grateful that her views align with mine on many of the themes in Come Home, America. Check out her observations and other interesting essays at http://silverseason.wordpress.com.
Here is a sample:
Chapter 5 of my brother Bill’s book is The “Winner’s Complex“. I really like this chapter. He opens, “With rare exceptions, political leaders and opinion makers avoid gloomy portents and remain true to the idea of an invincible America.” Of course! We want to be numero uno, advising the world, telling others what to do and how to do it. It reminds me of how, when I was little, girls were taught to be supportive and to adjust to other people’s needs, while boys were taught to fight and win and prevail and to insist that they were right. What a pain — the little boys are still fighting and winning and telling the rest of us how great they are.
Bill takes us through the history of this sort of thing , with apt quotes from both sides of political aisle. He also looks abroad and suspects that they aren’t listening to us anymore. I wonder if they felt this in England after World War II as they discarded most of the remains of their battered empire. It was clear to them at the time, and it is even clearer in retrospect, that they couldn’t have held it if they wanted to. Since we never admitted we had an empire — or any empire that we admitted to, like the Philippines, we gave up — we don’t seem ready yet to accept our present limitations. As Bill points out, we did not create the present world entire. It is a large and complicated system in which our reach has far exceeded our grasp.
Bill saves his toughest judgment for our understanding of the national interest, the goal of all this fighting and winning. “Under both Democrats and Replublicans, the US government first and foremost promotes and defends the fortunes of America’s multinational corporations and financial firms. If the multinationals are winning in the global competitions, then it is assumed that American is winning.” This is indeed the assumption behind most of the political and ecnomic commentary that you read. Always ask, Who benefits?