Ryan Chartrand

In their new book “Standing Up to the Madness,” “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman and her brother, journalist David Goodman, compiled stories of individuals and organizations that represent a hopeful light in what they consider to be the dark state of our country. The tone of the book is not at all surprising; the authors take a strong, decisive stance in regard to matters facing America today.

Before dwelling on the positive, the authors spend a large amount of time outlining the negative. In this way, just like Goodman’s radio show, the book is sure to annoy and anger conservatives in its blatant rebuke of the Bush administration and the current American government in general.

The book begins with a lengthy introduction outlining the authors’ complete disdain for all things connected to the Bush administration and their fears about what they feel is the irrevocable damage it has caused America. What follows are eight profiles of individuals who the authors recognize as “standing up to the madness” by protesting the restrictions placed on them by their local, state and/or federal governments. Many of those profiled have also been heard on “Democracy Now” at one point, so dedicated listeners will recognize some of the stories. Some profiles even feature interviews from the show.

True to form, the Goodmans’ heroes vary in race, age, sex and ethnicity, allowing for a broad representation of American society. Indeed, part of the book’s intended appeal is the idea that any American is capable of changing the status quo, even if he or she doesn’t fit the typical profile of a muckraker. There is the scientist who counters the government’s findings on global warming (or, from their point of view, the myth thereof), the 16-year-old who acts the part of a soldier afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in his school play, only to have it banned by his school district, and the ex-Black Panther who started a relief organization for residents of the Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. What all eight of the profiles have in common is an emphasis on locating and fixing the injustice and disparities that exist in the administration of American government.

Interspersed between the contemporary stories are vignettes of famous protests from America’s past (Rosa Parks’ bus protest and Daniel Ellsberg’s publishing of the Pentagon Papers, for example) in an effort to liken the profiled individuals to well-respected American role models and the widely recognized actions they took.

Because of the Goodmans’ strong views, it might seem at first that, in order to respect the individuals profiled in the book, one must reject the policies of the current American government. However, with careful consideration, it becomes obvious that it is acceptable for people of all opinions to respect the bravery and tenacity evidenced in each person, even if their modes of action might differ. The overall theme of the book is that individuals are capable of changing the world – or at least the country – if they keep their wits and courage about them. The open-minded reader will understand that this is possible, regardless of his or her political views, and will be encouraged by each story.

Emilie Egger is an English junior and Mustang Daily book columnist.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *