Reader’s Forum–Julie Leak

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After Bernie was out and I expressed support for Jill Stein one of my FB friends responded, “you’re a neophyte, she can’t win.”  We had different definitions of winning.  With regard to gerrymandering I had a basic understanding of the dictionary definition:  the practice of manipulating boundaries to gain a political advantage for a particular party or group.

When I heard we were reading RATF**KED it reminded me of a personal experience.  I was working on the health care issue with a group of activists, Private Health Insurance Must Go.  I had never visited a congressperson (remember, a real neophyte).  By the way, I vote by absentee in North Carolina.  Never expected to be in New York long term and thought my vote counted more down there.  On one occasion while in Raleigh I decided to visit my congressperson, Brad Miller, Democrat, to discuss single payer. He was not available so I spoke with a staff person.  A few years later I returned to visit again and to my surprise was told “he had been gerrymandered out.”  As noted, I understood the basic definition, but it really struck home just what the concept not only meant but how it played out in our political lives.  I don’t know the exact timing but he served from 2003 to 2012 in the 13th congressional district.  Mr. Daley confirms in Chapter 3:  “One by one, white, moderate Southern Democrats were pushed aside and replaced by much more conservative Republicans.  National names including Brad Miller. . .by 2014 all of them either decided not to run again or went down to defeat.”  The racial gerrymandering in North Carolina was described by the court as “almost surgical precision” in the way it discriminated against certain voters.  Needless to say, Ratf**ked has laid this out so even a neophyte can get it!  If it took three decades to implement as noted in the last paragraph; so, for sure I will not be here to see it reversed.  Meanwhile I will learn what I can and do whatever possible in the interim.  I appreciate the book, the opportunity to learn and to have this discussion.

Juliette Leak lives in Manhattan and describes herself  as “an Independent finding her voice”.  She is active with the New York City Independence Clubs.

 

Ratfucked book image

*Reminder*

Conference Call with David Daley

Author of RATF**KED

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Highlights of P4P Conference Call with Jerome Charyn

 

Jerome Charyn and Cathy Stewart

 

On Sunday, February 15th, the Politics for the People book club spent an hour talking with Jerome Charyn about his book, I Am Abraham.  I am sharing a few excerpts and you can listen to the entire conversation at the end of this post.  (Note: if the audio links do not appear in the email version of this post, just click on the email to come to the blog.)

Our first audio clip includes my introduction of Jerome and an exploration of how Jerome decided to write the novel and find Lincoln’s voice.  This section ends with a fascinating conversation between Jerome and Dr. Omar Ali about history, facts and fiction.  Give a listen.

(https://politics4thepeople.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/p4p-charyn-intro-to-ali.mp3)

Dr. Jessie Fields asked Jerome Charyn how he made the choice to put the assassination of Lincoln in the preface of the book.

In his response, Jerome shared, “I knew that I wanted to end the novel in Richmond because I thought it was the most important day in Lincoln’s life. Here was the conqueror coming to the conquered people, not as a conqueror, but as someone who was a peace maker…”

(https://politics4thepeople.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/p4p-charyn-dr-fields.mp3)

Jessica Marta asked : “You pay a lot of attention, in the book, to Mary Todd Lincoln’s decent into madness… I was wondering why you made that choice?”

Jerome responded: “Well, what I wanted to do was show that women in the 19th Century had so few choices. For example, she was much better educated than any of the men around her, certainly much better educated than her husband. But she could not enter public life in any fashion at all. And he never would have become president without her. She was his general… But as soon as he inhabited the White House, he sort of thrust her to the side… You take a very intelligent woman with a very political point of view and you give her nothing to do… she begins scheming. What I wanted to do was try to deal with her madness with as much sympathy as I could.”

(https://politics4thepeople.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/p4p-charyn-jessica.mp3)

The conversation explored much about the author’s writing process.  At one point Warren Liebesman asked Jerome to talk about how he developed the deeply evocative and poetic voice in the book.  Jerome talked with us the story of the last line of the book as one example. “You don’t know where it comes from and that’s what’s so perverse. For example, if you look at the very last sentence of the book…”

I piped in: “Is it? … and I held him as close as I could?”

 Jerome continued, “No, exactly. You put an extra ‘as’ in there. Now, I wrote that sentence ‘I held him as close I could.’ Now, the copy editor thought, ‘Who is this damn guy? What is he talking about?’ So he or she put in that second ‘as.’ So I didn’t notice it the first time around… then I said ‘Wait a minute. I would never write that sentence. There’s something much more intimate about the lack of the grammar there than it would be if you put in that second ‘as’.”

(https://politics4thepeople.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/p4p-charyn-warren.mp3)

Below is the full recording of our P4P conversation

with Jerome Charyn.

Enjoy!

(https://politics4thepeople.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/2-15charynp4p.mp3)

Reminder–Conference Call at 7 pm EST Today

Join us and as we explore

Our Declaration:

A Reading of the Declaration of Independence

in Defense of Equality

 with Danielle Allen

Danielle-Allen

Tonight, Sunday

October 19th at 7 pm EST

Call in number 805 399-1200

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