I decided a couple of months ago that my brain was slowly rotting away by subjecting it to hours upon hours of copying, filing, and letter writing at work only to come home to hours and hours of television shows on Hulu. There's only so much Hell's Kitchen you can watch before you realize it's time to get some mental stimulation from somewhere. I was always an avid reader as a child so I looked and looked for a book club to join that wouldn't be a bunch of 30+ women reading romance novels like I feared but would have men and women my age reading nonfiction books that made me really think. I found that in the Hungry Intellectuals Book Club the last month they had a site on Meetup.com. I'm really glad I skirted in at the last minute.
So I haven't actually read a whole book through yet, but I'm working on it for March. Being in this club has encouraged me to start using the local library more and to really make time to turn off the television, step away from the laptop, and just kick back with a good read. Right now we're reading the Last Child in the Woods about how our relationship with nature has changed over the past couple of generations. I'll wait to pass judgement on it until I've finished it but so far it seems to resonate with my own experiences.
I also picked up a book that would give just about everyone I know pause, regardless of their political affiliation: Going Rogue by Sarah Palin. If you know me, you know I'm a huge pro-choice, tree hugging, gay loving progressive whose only regret so far about campaigning for President Obama in 2008 is that he's just not liberal enough. So why on earth am I attracted to Sarah Palin? She represents everything I stand against and yet I waited on a hold list behind about 600 other people to get this book so I could here what she had to say about how mavericky she is. (I've read 10 pages and I'm already sick of the phrase "politics as usual" again.) For me it's all about exposure. I'm fascinated by the fact that so many people are fascinated and captivated by this woman. And I can't criticize (think critically about) something I don't really know or understand. I am going to spend a few hours reading a book so I can understand what some of my acquaintances see in her and what the attraction to her brand of politics is. I'm hoping to tap into that Palin-fever just for the time I'm engaged in her book and really take away from it what motivates people to be attracted to a particular leader.
To be a successful advocate for your causes you must 1. Know what your beliefs are and 2. Know what opposing beliefs there are and where you agree and disagree. I also have considered going into politics either from the official direction or the journalistic direction, so it would be interesting to note where some of the fervor over her is coming from. I think it's going to be an interesting read and I'm hoping that I come out of it with great insight and more respect for former Gov. Palin than I currently have (which is about zero). Even if I come out still sick to my stomach over her Fox News-worthy ideologies, I'll at least have learned something. Exposure. I really hope the process is not to painful. If it becomes so, I'll at least have a good drinking game. (One sip every time the words "politics as usual" "maverick" "energy reform" "drill" etc. come up and I'll likely be high as a kite!)