Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan don’t pull any punches. So don’t expect any glossed-over facts about the American political machine in their new book The Silenced Majority. The sequel to their New York Times bestselling book Breaking the Sound Barrier, based on their Kings Features Syndicate column of the same name, Goodman (host of the grassroots public television and radio program Democracy Now!) and Moynihan (the show’s co-founder) are not here to validate your political leanings – be they liberal or conservative. They’re here to tell the truth, documenting and exposing corrupt politicians, acts of atrocity, and biased mainstream media. (Warning: All self-congratulating liberals should be prepared to read why they’re not much better than the Republicans.) It’s eye opening, but not completely depressing. Goodman and Moynihan also tell us about the many ordinary people out there fighting against government and corporate power – either individually or as part of a social movement.
The Silenced Majority is a collection of Goodman and Moynihan’s commentaries on everything from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to racial conflict to climate change to WikiLeaks. The authors ask hard questions and press to find real answers. As Michael Moore says in his forward, The Silenced Majority “is a real head shaker as you read it and wonder, ‘How is it we’re still here?’ ”
Another question to ponder: “How can we consider ourselves good people?” At least that’s what I thought; beginning with the discussion on war, torture, and the soldiers who aren’t receiving the help they need as they struggle with the traumatic events they witnessed and engaged in. The grim face of death doesn’t just stem from those killed in action. Civilian fatalities are not always accidents, but, more often than we’d like to admit, murder by some of our own troops, something the government continues to ignore. Soldiers suffering from PTSD are committing suicide. And Guantánamo Bay detention camp remains open.
The problems don’t end there. Climate change is being largely ignored, with President Obama making backroom “non-binding” agreements to reduce carbon emissions with a select group of countries, while ignoring the dozens of other countries that are directly affected by global warming (the Maldives could literally end up under water).
Racism remains a serious problem, as African Americans, Latinos, and Middle Easterners to name just a few groups face daily harassment, discrimination, possible deportation, and, in cases such as Trayvon Martin, murder. Crowds cheer for the death penalty at political rallies, while men such as Troy Davis are executed for murder when there is no physical evidence linking them to a crime. All the while it’s being discovered that U.S. corporations such as IBM, Fujitsu, Ford, GM, and the international banks UBS and Barclays allegedly helped the pre-1994 Apartheid regime in South Africa.
Then there are the whistleblowers (such as Private Bradley Manning, currently being prosecuted for allegedly releasing to WikiLeaks thousands of United States classified documents and a video recording the cruel systematic killing of a group of Iraqi men and two Reuters employees who were with them), and the corporations corrupting the democratic system by funneling millions of dollars from super PACs into advertising for the Romney presidential campaign.
Goodman and Moynihan tackle convincingly these issues and many many others, indicating one by one all of our government failings. As the authors point out, the key to progress – be it social, economic or political – is for the public to know the truth. Unfortunately, the truth will shake your comfort zone. But take a deep breath, pick up this book, and start questioning what you’ve being told.
Where: Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1
Price: Free, though tickets required; tickets available at Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Bal Harbour stores.
Contact: Visit booksandbooks.com