This is turning into one of the more irritable, fractious and difficult Presidential campaigns in recent history. No one seems happy with the choices being presented to them by either party and negative feelings towards the whole system are clearly everywhere, from Occupy Wall Street to Tea Parties. Everyone seems fed up with a choice of the same old, same old.
So Jason Heller’s delightful novel, Taft:2012, (Published by Quirk at $14.95) has arrived at just the right time, smack at the start of the Primary season.
The book starts with the science fiction idea that Taft fell asleep on the way to Wilson’s inauguration, and woke up in 2011. This conceit allows Heller the opportunity to indulge a wry satire as Taft is re-born into today’s America, where he finds that his old fashioned values strike a chord with a nation sick of itself. A nation seeking self-worth in consumption, rather than personal achievement
Taft allows Heller an opportunity to draw the reader on a journey through the slimy world of TV talk shows, media and the offices of the powerful, whilst he seeks reason and fairness in political life and, as life spirals gently out of his control he finds himself the unlikely focus of a nation”s hopes and he is back, running again for President. A road trip across today’s America then allows Heller an opportunity to draw a long perspective and some fine set piece speeches.
The discovery of who is funding the Tafties, and what his solution is, is deliciously done
But, I liked best his speech about what it is to be American which with permission, I’d like to share with you.
“Unlike so many of my opponents on both sides of the big-ticket coin, I’m not here to talk about myself at all. I’m here to talk about you.
You are America. You are a piece of it, and you are the whole of it. And so is your neighbour. Whoever stands next to you is a part of your existence, as is the person who stands halfway across the country. No part of this country is healthy if even the smallest cell of it is ill. An entire symphony becomes discordant at the creation of one wrong note. And my opponents have been blowing quite a few of them lately.
For too long, I have come to understand, America has been content to let those in power – the would-be dictators of both the public and private sectors – fed you garbage”
I am not suggesting you rush out and buy this tomorrow, or even this weekend, but make sure you read it by November.
Copyright David Macadam 2012