Book review: ‘America: (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction’ offers humor, ‘alternative facts’

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

Note: This book is very loosely based on a true story (history) using “alternative facts.” For example, Thomas Jefferson writes the foreword.

It has become popular, at least at CBS News, to cite three things you should know. Here are three things you should know about the Daily Show’s “America.”

1) Because of the language used, in my day the book would have been considered for adults only; today, who knows? Be warned, though, that this book is not for everybody. It contains what Donald Trump has labeled “locker room talk.”

2) Though published in 2004, the book could just as well be a commentary/satire on today’s America.

3) With Jon Stewart as one of the writers and editors, the book has to be humorous, although it is not so much written as constructed in a variety of formats based on what are currently called “alternative facts.” The book is not so much to be read as to be sampled from time to time for amusement and erudition.

• Chapter 1 — Democracy Before America

Sample quote: “The feeble and weak realized that without a good plan they weren’t going to make it out of the stone age to see the wonders of clay.”

• Chapter 2 — The Founding of America

Sample quote: “The United States of America, the greatest country in the history of the world, would not exist had England simply been less stingy with the chamomile [tea].”

• Chapter 3 — The President: King of Democracy

Sample quote: “During the average president’s first four-year term, he spends 1,241 days figuring out how to get a second four-year term.” … “The Vice-President: A Heartbeat Away from Relevance.”

• Chapter 4 — Congress: Quagmire of Freedom

Sample quote: “Somewhere between these two extremes lies the legislative sweet-spot that produces just the right amount of laws for a well-adjusted society – more than zero, less than fascism.”

• Chapter 5 — The Judicial Branch: It Rules

Sample quote: “Ultimately it is left to the President’s discretion to choose a nominee. And whether he chooses a good friend or merely a long-time acquaintance, the President must ask himself one critical question: Will this person only make decisions I agree with?”

• Chapter 6 — Campaigns and Elections: America Changes the Sheets

Sample quote: “Campaigns and elections are where idealism and the elegant design of the American Experiment are set free to see if they can survive in the wild.” … “The Campaign Trail: Learning to Hate the Land You’ll Govern.”

• Chapter 7 — The Media: Democracy’s Valiant Vulgarians

Sample quote: The town crier’s call of “Hear Ye! Hear Ye!” was the colonial equivalent of today’s “Fox News Alert” only without a shrieking metallic sound effect akin to fingernails scratching on a chalkboard in hell. [2004 preceded “Fake News”]

• Chapter 8 — The Future of Democracy: Four Score and Seven Years from Now

Sample quote: “And if a new power does arise, will it make us drive smaller cars? ‘Cause right now a lot of SUV owners are in long-term leases and it’s kind of difficult to get out of those without paying some killer fees.”

• Chapter 9 — The Rest of the World: International House of Horrors

Sample quote: “Some of these readers may feel so angry, they may be tempted to live someplace other than America, some place freer, safer, less bomb-happy, less hated by the rest of the world. Some place like, oh, the rest of the world. To those readers we say… have you seen the rest of the world lately?”

Denouement: Although the book does not contain the word “covfefe,” it does contain other questionable words. You may choose to read/sample it anyway. Others have enjoyed it bigly, greatly.

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