Welcome to the library. It is story time. Learn how great books sculpted Updraft America.
Updraft America began as an art installation. When people heard that Suzanne was folding a year’s subscription to the Congressional Record into paper airplanes, they offered to help fold. And with each airplane folded, art transformed itself into social action.
Meaningful action, though, begged for direction. Suzanne met last autumn with several campaign reform experts. Opinions differed, solutions varied. One truth emerged: without Congress on board, nothing can be fixed. The legislators who must agree to change the laws–and who ride into town on them–are entrenched in winner-take-all political warfare.
January, 2016, while flying to northern China for an ice sculpting competition, Suzanne read Mickey Edwards’ book, The Parties Versus the People. In it, he offers brilliant, common-sense solutions. To get Democrats and Republicans to work across the aisle, why not start by literally getting rid of the aisle, making them sit together! While reading his book, it all became crystal clear: we must expect more of candidates and of our elected officials. They may not hear us, but they will hear our votes. Mr. Edwards graciously consulted on how Updraft America can create positive change.
A web search led to Mark Gerzon’s book, The Reunited States of America. This book reveals the world of non-profits hard at work attempting to bridge the political divide. Reaching out to Gerzon, Suzanne discovered Debilyn Molineaux and David Nevins, co-founders of the Bridge Alliance–a network of organizations working hard to knit America back together. A terrific partnership took shape.
Working on Updraft America gave our all-volunteer team many opportunities to discuss their differing political views. One day, we found two of our millennial airplane folders (a Texas Republican and a New York Democrat) laughing their way through a constructive discussion about issues. Miles apart ideologically, they are united working on Updraft America. How can such terrific people differ so greatly in their ideologies? We found the answers in Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. Read it to understand why conservatives and liberals have such differing views. Then, explore your own.
No reading list would be complete without a cogent explanation of why we have such a gaping political divide. Former Congressmen Tom Davis (R-VA) and Martin Frost (D-TX) bring their combined forty years of Congressional experience and their knowledge–at times encyclopedic–to the writing of their book, The Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis. They not only explain how we got here, they lend their top-strategist expertise on pathways through the quagmire.
And on the Senate side, former majority leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-MS) take us behind the scenes to recount how they worked together to lead the Senate out of some of the darker days of our nation–the impeachment of a President and the response to 9-11. Crisis Point explains why they say relationships are key.
If you have books to add to the library, let us know.