[Note: The stars in the title are my own; the authors opted to use the actual word in their book title. I'm toning it down because I think of my blog as friendly to all -- including those who prefer their reading without cursing. From here on out, I'll refer to the book as simply America.. My opinion is that the title should have been a different one, if only for audience purposes. The aim of the book is a good one (see the below paragraph), and I'm afraid there will be people who will dismiss it based on title alone.]
Politics are doubtlessly one of America's "hot topics." You know what they say -- avoid discussions of religion and politics in polite company. It seems that this credo has led us to our current political state: a strongly divided-down-party-lines country, where any discussion results in an argument. One of the aims of the book was to encourage civil discussions between those whose opinions differ, (hopefully) resulting in a little more understanding and a little less tension. If your Facebook friends are anything like mine, I'm sure you've seen this tension played out in comments and posts. It can get downright ugly, with name-calling and mud-slinging rather than honest discussion. We all have a right to our opinions, as we have a right to disagree with others. But can't we be a little more civil about it?
You don't have to be a book blogger or a participant in Mandy's Book Blogger Club to take part in the discussions. Click over to the Well-Read Wife and Mandy's first discussion question post to answer on your own in the comment section. You can also follow the discussion answer the questions on Twitter using the hashtag #MBBCWRW.
The following questions cover pages 1-31 in the book:
1. On page 1 Michael says he feels like America as a nation has lost sight of our “mission statement.” What do you think America’s mission statement should be? Try your hand at writing one!
And is that the American dream, anyway? I think most Americans would simply like to live their lives comfortably and in relative peace. This means that they have a way to earn money which allows them to eat foods they enjoy, buy gas to drive where they need and want to go, and pay their bills on time. Unfortunately, these (seemingly) simple goals are a daily struggle for some and downright impossible for others -- even among those who "work hard." I don't know that we've lost our mission statement so much as we've made it impossible for regular Americans to achieve the goals set forth in our mission statement.
2. Michael’s Crocs? Hot or not?
3. Were you surprised that the McCain’s Sedona cabins were what many would consider modest?
4. On guns: Meghan says on pg. 18 “One of the things I was most surprised about when I first moved to New York City was the strange and almost visceral anger a lot of East Coast people have towards both guns and the protection of Second Amendment Rights.” Meghan also says on (page 19) she feels like more restrictions should be placed on just who is able to obtains certain types of firearms. Michael says on page 20, “It seems that we’re more selective about who gets a LinkedIn invitation than we are about the people we let buy firearms.” How do you feel the topic of gun control was handled in the book? How do you feel about guns and gun control in general? Have you ever fired a “zombie killer”?
I'm reading Alafair Burke's first Ellie Hatcher series novel right now, and a ballistics expert in the book mentions something interesting. She says that every gun manufactured in the U.S. could technically have ballistics testing done before purchase. These test results would be entered into a database that law enforcement officers could search when a bullet is found at a crime scene. This sounds infinitely reasonable to me. Before a gun is sold, it undergoes ballistics testing so that if it is ever used during a crime, it can be traced immediately. This hasn't been done, the character laments, because anti-gun control people would have a fit. I see this as an enormous problem. Should people be allowed to hunt? Sure, if they do so safely. Should the government be able to trace guns used in crimes? Absolutely. So I suppose I am not entirely anti-guns, but I am definitely pro-gun control.
5. How do you feel about the disagreement Meghan and Michael have in the bar on the fourth of July? “Freedom Doesn’t Come Free” – Trite or Right?
But I think Michael is also right when he feels the saying is trite -- it's too simple. It wraps up a complicated circumstance into a simplistic statement. Because it is a topic so close to her heart, Meghan seems unable to separate people's feelings for war and their feelings for the military. In my mind, the two do not go hand in hand. I believe we can be enormously proud of our military men and women, want nothing but the best for them, yet also believe some military decisions our country has made were in error. In fact, I might just argue that the very reason many people were against the war in Iraq and in Afghanistan was because they love and respect members of the military. They didn't want our military members losing their lives for wars that they deem unnecessary.