BOOKS

What We've Lost by Graydon Carter

This is the one political book I've read even though I have a few more on my To Be Read shelf and here's why: facts. This book is not a screed. It's not a left-wing attack. It's facts. Mr. Carter has compiled a thorough listing of what President Bush has done during his time in office to make this country worse. Even for somebody like myself who already knew quite a bit about this particular topic, this book is an eye-opener. There are litterally almost no facets of this country that have not been made worse by Bush. But here's the thing, the way this book is constructed you can come away liking some of what Bush has done. That's the strength of using the facts. If you're a logger or a corporate honcho, you love Bush and here's why. The book doesn't say Bush is bad for doing a lot of the things he's done but if you have a heart in your chest and a brain in your head, you can't help but be angry. Or, rather, if you're not angry you're part of the problem.

And I'm not talking about the war. The war has clouded so much of the debate this election that people can't see past it to the real issues. One of the things that initially impressed me about What We've Lost is its treatment of the war. Carter doesn't let the war blind him the way a lot of left wing writers and speakers do. It's only 7 pages of the book. What he does is lay down the facts. He talks about the reasons given by the administration for going into Iraq and how it really worked out. He gives the winners of the war and the losers (which includes almost 10 pages listing the names of the dead from the coalition side since Bush declared victory). Carter puts Iraq in it's place in the list just as everyone else should be doing. It's important but should not shadow the other issues. By comparison, the section of the book on the administration's poor record on securing the US from further attack is 9 pages.

If you've already decided to vote for Bush this year, please go to the bookstore and at least look at this book. There's good information on almost every page and each chapter is devoted to an important topic like The Economy, The Environment, Health Care, etc. There's something for everyone. Go through the last chapter 'Bush By The Numbers' and take a look at these numbers. They tell a story and it's an important one. I understand if people don't like John Kerry. If you don't want to vote for Kerry, that's fine. But at least go look at this book and ask yourself if you can in good conscience vote for Bush. I'm not one of these people who think Republicans are evil or people who like Bush are stupid. I think a lot of good-hearted, right-minded people like Bush for the wrong reasons. The Republican idea machine is powerful and plenty of rational and reasonable people have been misguided by it. I really believe that if people knew the things Bush has done to harm this country and it's people, they wouldn't vote for him. This book will show you facts that you can't help but factor into your choice on election day. If you don't like Kerry, don't vote for him. But if you look at this book and don't like what Bush has done, don't vote for him either. It's not either or. Don't vote for either. Make a statement that you don't like either main candidate and vote Green or Libertarian. But at least do yourself and our democracy a favor and take a look at this book before you vote for Bush. It might not change your mind. If you like what's laid out for you in the book, vote for Bush. But at least look at it and make an informed decision.