Sunday, November 04, 2012

Election Author Opinion Sampler

Voted already? I have, but I'm still pre-occupied with the election while awaiting the results and can't quite move on to other topics, but I'm tired of reading the same old predictable pundits. So just for fun, let's have a look at what some of our favorite writers have been saying about the issues and candidates:

Kwame Anthony Appiah (The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen) in the New York Review of Books on how our electoral choices shape legacies and lessons learned and at Think Progress about this election and racial identity.

Walter Mosely (Little Scarlet) opines at The Guardian: 'He was like a surgeon given a rusty scalpel'

Stephen Kinzer (Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds) in a talk at Northeastern University offers foreign policy advice to the candidates: 'Precisely because we are so powerful, the U.S. desperately needs a more humble attitude as we consider how and whether to intervene around the world'. Video of the complete lecture here.

It can't be too surprising that the preferences of most authors we have read lean Democratic, but there is at least one exception -- Mary Ann Glendon (A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), a registered independent who is an adviser to the Romney campaign: 'The population is divided, families are divided; it’s like the Civil War when some wore blue and some wore grey and (they) were often brothers.'

Philip Gourevitch (The Ballad of Abu Ghraib) at The New Yorker on Syria, Sandy, and surviving disaster: 'The storm we’re now riding out is beyond any government’s control, but the response to it is not.'

Junot Diaz (Apocalypse: What Disasters Reveal), who made an eloquent case for the importance of a motivating story in critiquing Obama's State of the Union a couple years back, thinks the president has the edge at the moment,  'But as far as the level of storyteller is concerned, I have a far clearer sense of who Obama is during this election, than I do at all of Romney'.

Amnesty International USA put out a bingo card for the debates highlighting human right issues the presidential candidates should be asked about and discuss. Sadly, many of these topics did not get their due. I know I would have liked to hear a stronger human rights narrative from both candidates. You can still play human rights bingo with Amnesty while you await election results, with each square offering up the chance to inform your elected representatives of some human rights priority. Get started on our human rights agenda today.


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