Which Side Are You On?

Not too long ago, syndicated columnist and author Arianna Huffington was a noted figure on the political Right. She was a co-founder with Marvin Olasky of the Center for Effective Compassion and an informal adviser to Newt Gingrich. But as the "Republican revolution" increasingly bought into preserving the status quo, she has been distancing herself from those former allies. With her new book, How to Overthrow the Government, she effectively burns the bridges once and for all.

It is a book that pulls no punches—taking on the politicians of both parties, along with the pollsters and media in collusion with them. She writes that "politics in America has degenerated into a world where there’s no integrity, no principles, and no truth." The following chapters then document this degeneration with a combination of statistical information and anecdotes. Living only by the polls, cynical and manipulative fund-raising techniques, and falsified attacks on opponents have become the stock-in-trade of American politics. Our political campaigns have become a sewer, in which negative ads and scandal-mongering have replaced serious discussion of beliefs and policies.

One consequence is the deepening divisions in our society, particularly in economic status. Huffington writes: "The economic boom of the ’90s has masked a looming political crisis: a corrupt political system that auctions off public policy to the highest bidder, and leaves the overwhelming majority of Americans feeling alienated from their own government....It’s hard to escape the notion that the United States has been torn in two—divided between a moneyed elite getting rich from globalization and an increasing number of citizens left choking on the dust of Wall Street’s galloping bulls."

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2000
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