One of the comforts I take in this age of Obama – as I did in the age of Clinton – is that there are still plenty of Americans with good sense left. They are not the hayseeds that Washington believes them to be or that the religious left believes them to be (not to mention the geniuses in Hollywood).
By and large, much of the country understands the issues and also knows right from wrong. We still have that going for us, even as the man from Kenya tells us we are no longer a Christian nation. The American people know better, and they have opinions. What they lack – the thing bestowed on the Chris Matthews and Michael Moores of the world – is a platform for articulating their views on the issues that affect us all.
Todd Starnes of Fox News & Commentary knows this, too. It’s one of the reasons I so enjoyed his new book, “Dispatches from Bitter America: A Gun Toting, Chicken Eating Son of a Baptist’s Culture War Stories.”
Starnes has gathered stories from real Americans – pulling from media stories and his own travels – who unburden themselves in unvarnished fashion. Eagerly opening my copy of “Bitter America,” I think I actually licked my lips in anticipation of reading this gem. Scanning the table of contents and finding such offerings as: “Does the President Have a Jesus Problem?”, “Sex Tents, Gerbils, and San Francisco Values” and “Save Mankind, Eat an Animal,” I knew what the rest of my day’s schedule would look like.
Starnes is locked and loaded right from the start, telling us that he knows Obama believes he is a bitter American.
Let’s go back to the spring of 2008, when Manchurian candidate Obama famously said that Americans who “cling to guns or religion” are bitter, he later stepped in it again by trying to Clintonspeak his way out, telling the Associated Press: “I didn’t say it as well as I should have.”
Comically, he was taken to task by Frau Spinmeister Hillary Clinton (now of course Obama’s secretary of state), who said: “Senator Obama’s remarks were elitist and out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans.”
As an aside, I think Clinton was lying; she doesn’t believe that statement. She is part of the liberal elite, too. But in her remarks there was a kernel of truth, and Starnes has now crisscrossed the U.S. to learn more.
For example (and Starnes also interviews such conservative luminaries as Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee, but I much prefer his interactions with working-class Americans), he visited with Colleen Dostal, of Shenandoah, Iowa, whose 14-year-old son was in a sex-education class where the instructor used stuffed animals to demonstrate sex acts.
In North Carolina, Pastor Ron Baity refused to remove the name of Jesus from his invocation for the state legislative chamber. A house clerk noticed the “offending” name and alerted the House speaker. Baity was told he could deliver the invocation, but his services would no longer be required.
The pastor astutely noted: “When the state tells you how to pray, that you cannot use the name of Jesus, that’s mandating a state religion.”
Did you listen to what he said? This is profound, and shows that Americans like Baity understand the issues and also point out key areas that all of us should become engaged with. We should be more relentless than the left in promoting our worldview.
Starnes even includes a charming and fun interview with Paula Deen, and believe me, after you finish hearing Miss Paula opine on the link between our heritage and food, well, you’ll just want to hug someone and have another fried pie.
Stunningly (in print), Starnes affirms many of the things many Americans hold very dear, including … gasp … a belief in Bible prophecy (“It’s the End of the World As We Know It”) as an explanation for the sorry world we live in. He’s not afraid to put his faith out there.
With such deep thinkers as Bill Maher, John Hickelooper (mayor of Denver) and Janeane Garofalo calling us names like “dogs,” “backward thinkers” and “teabagging rednecks,” it helps all the more to have a resource like “Bitter America” available, if nothing else to raise the ire of the very people who make this great country an unparalleled home for the Mahers, Hickeloopers and Garofalos of the world.
I’ll be very honest with you; I love books like this. Stocked with plenty of anecdotes and wisdom, they are great teaching aids, in my view (I also recommend that you visit ToddStarnes.com). Starnes’ contribution to this field is one of the very best I’ve seen. You will love every word!