Put This Under the Tree

When Christmas time comes, here’s a book you might want to give to your conservative family/friends and liberal ones, too.

Sound impossible? Ken Stern thought it would be. The publisher explains:

The former CEO of NPR set out for conservative America to find out why these people are so wrong about everything. It turns out, they weren’t.

Ken Stern watched the increasing polarization of our country with growing concern. As a longtime partisan Democrat himself, he felt forced to acknowledge that his own views were too parochial, too absent of any exposure to the “other side.” In fact, his urban neighborhood is so liberal, he couldn’t find a single Republican–even by asking around.

So for one year, he crossed the aisle to spend time listening, talking, and praying with Republicans of all stripes. With his mind open and his dial tuned to the right, he went to evangelical churches, shot a hog in Texas, stood in pit row at a NASCAR race, hung out at Tea Party meetings and sat in on Steve Bannon’s radio show. He also read up on conservative wonkery and consulted with the smartest people the right has to offer.

What happens when a liberal sets out to look at issues from a conservative perspective? Some of his dearly cherished assumptions about the right slipped away. Republican Like Me reveals what lead him to change his mind, and his view of an increasingly polarized America.

And so he wrote “Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right.”

It’s available at Amazon and has gotten good reviews. Here’s one:

As contentious and divisive as the 2016 presidential election was, and as heated as even casual conversations about President Trump can be (for or against), you might begin to wonder if Republicans and Democrats can ever get along. Ken Stern, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal (He was CEO of NPR–surely you don’t get much more solidly liberal than that!), spent the year getting to know Republicans from around the country and–guess what?–found that they aren’t as bad as CNN and the NY Times led him to believe!

The main thing to note about Ken Stern’s book Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right is that it’s fun to read. Stern comes across as a likeable guy who enjoys other people and enjoys life. Whether he’s hunting pigs in south Texas, worshiping with a bunch of enthusiastic college students, exploring a coal town in Appalachia, or checking out a homeless outreach in New York, he writes with good humor and contagious enthusiasm.

In Republican Like Me, Stern demonstrates that by opening one’s mind and having actual conversations with people from the other end of the political spectrum, one might find that one’s political and ideological opposites might have some decent ideas. Stern was pleasantly surprised by the activism and commitment to community he found among evangelicals. He came to see the human costs of environmental policies. He found that addressing poverty is not as simple as political dichotomies seem to imply.

Interestingly, I am told that NPR itself has blacked out any mention of this book on its network.

Hmm. I wonder why?

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