What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

23 October 2011

Texas Book Festival: Juan Williams

So I've decided that the easiest way to cover the book festival in all its glory (which I fully intend on doing, so if you hate books or festivals, now is a good time to take a vacation from Cheekyness) is to start at the beginning and write about each talk or panel in order. Here goes.

Mr. Williams' latest book.
When I saw Juan Williams on the list, I was delighted. I read his book a couple of months ago and promptly decided that he is about as close to a voice of reason as we have on political TV in America today. He's a champion of civil rights, freedom of speech, and honest debate-- all of which are sorely needed now as much as they have ever been. You can read Mr. Williams' story that led to his latest book at the Wikipedia page.

Some of the takeaway points: We can't have a healthy national debate when the slightest dissent leads to people, and politicians in particular, being labeled RINOs or DINOs (Republican or Democrat In Name Only). This isn't limited to one side; both parties do it to their own. Unfortunately, this leads to a niche landscape, which is where we are now, with everyone locked into boxes. Mr. Williams said, "We need the freedom to debate and the freedom to be wrong." (In case you pay even less attention to politics than I do: Politicians aren't allowed to change their minds about things, for fear of attack, even if their previous position is wrong/untenable/really embarrassing/whatever. It's really dumb, IMO.)

A nice moment: During the Q&A, one participant noted how guests with opposing viewpoints will appear on those news analysis shows and all talk over each other (think Crossfire), and asked, "Do the producers think this is good TV?" Mr. Williams laughed and said, "No." He then went on to elaborate, but I was too busy applauding along with everyone else to write it down. But hey, "no" sums it up pretty nicely!

Have you read this book? Do you have an opinion on debate in the US? If you're not from the US... how is your weather?


Karen Peterson said...

I disagree with Juan Williams about a lot of things, but I really have a lot of respect for him and I agree that it's frustrating that we can't even have a little bit of disagreement anymore without being attacked. And that someone can't change their minds about something without being labeled a flip-flopper.

I've been wanting to read this book but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Su said...

That's a fair point; I'm not necessarily with him politically (considering he's a Democrat and I'm, well, somewhere in no-party land). It's a great read, though. And getting to see/hear him live was quite a treat!