By Keith D. Martin
141 pp. Weit Press, Paper, $9.35 (Amazon.com)
Martin engages ideas that rest in the soul of America's founding documents, America's founding vision. These are the words of equality, community, rights, justice, government. They are words that Martin contends ought center us back onto living up to the promise. His strikingly frank and honest dialogue are fresh and challenging for our current political discourse that looks for buzzwords, not engaging conversation. Speaking of being provided health care after a traffic accident while in England, Martin says, "That was England, this is America, the most moral righteous, generous, and decent of all countries, as our political leaders are fond of telling us (by the way, how do they know this? It's kind of like a corner store saying it has the world's coldest beer or a deli advertising the world's best hamburger. How can such determinations possibly be made?)." Martin holds nothing back, and is unapologetic about utilizing experience to inform ideas.
Martin is a must read for any liberal or progressive. It stands as a challenge, not only to conservatives, but to liberals or progressives who have become jaded with the American experiment. His challenge to all is one of return back to the founding documents. Simply put, we have taken for granted what we hold so dear, or purport to hold so dear. Martin’s words stare us in the face and challenge us to go back, read for ourselves, and ask what “We the People” actually means. Martin closes the mandate by opening up the vision. “As liberals we are called upon to make this “whatever it takes” commitment to achieve the reality of community, equality, human rights, and justice that our founding fathers have mandated.”
In the end, however, Martin’s vision is of a United States of America where every citizen can be healthy enough to read the founding documents, and if they aren’t, that they can receive adequate, affordable healthcare. In the end, his vision is of a United States of America where every citizen can literally read the founding documents, where education succeeds and rallies around the community, not a slogan. In the end, his vision is of a United States of America that understands the responsibilities that its populace demands. These are not dreams, they are visions with remarkable potential.
In the end, “A Liberal Mandate” is a book one must read if you are interested in the future of the United States of America, if you want to envision a “vision,” or even if you are a conservative. If you can read this book, first count your lucky stars you can read. If you can read this book and not be provoked to dream and act, read it again, for you must not have actually read, “A Liberal Mandate.”