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We The Purple : a book review

We the Purple
by Marcia Ford
(thanks to Mike Morrell/the Ooze for hooking me up with this book to review and many others that will be coming to you quickly now that I’m “back in the blogging saddle”, as it were)

The Independent. Not unlike the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot or the legendary Chupacabra - if they do indeed exist, they are surely to be feared. Marcia Ford creates an Independent scrapbook of sorts in her book, We the Purple. Through snapshots, stories, statistics and studies she runs aground the mythical Independent revealing that not only do they exist, they are thriving in places like the Internet and local political landscapes all over the country.

Ford does two things well in this book; she maintains a light-hearted wit that makes otherwise droll political talk at the least, bearable and at its best, downright exciting and she keeps complex political issues simple enough for even the most daft to understand.

But be forewarned, this is first a book about politics - non partisan politics to be specific. Ford talks of issues for sure, but as every good journalist, she peppers it all with narrative - and we all know how every good post modern loves a good narrative.

Ford goes to great lengths to examine the sociological back story to the Independent voter. I consider myself an Independent even though I am technically a registered democrat (I wanted to participate in the Colorado caucus this year and it felt really naughty checking that “democrat” box after being raised in a dyed in the wool Republican family…and you all know how I like being a little naughty now-a-days). After reading this book however, I have been emboldened to consider officially becoming an Independent; which, to my pleasure, Ford has convinced me is even more naughty - primarily because Ford successfully articulates that there is an Independent “cause”, a fight to be fought in the political sphere…and that we are not alone.

One of the points Ford attempts to make throughout the book is that true Independents are not “undecided” and they also aren’t the “swing vote”. There are, no doubt, people who ARE undecided and people who can be “swung” but they are a different breed than Independents. This is important to grasp if you are to understand the reforms Independents hope to push forward, reforms that are certainly not the stuff of cocktail party banter but important to the political landscape nonetheless.

In addition to some of the more banal explorations of non partisan politics, Ford discusses the deeper issues at hand, including those for Christians in particular. She echos Jim Wallis’ sentiment that Christians really should ALL be Independents. We should never allow a party to capture our hearts, allegiances and subsequent votes because we are not to be loyal to the cause of a political party, we are to be loyal to Christ and the causes of being a Christ follower.

The final 45 pages or so of the book are dedicated to profiles of real-life Independent voters…just in case you still weren’t convinced that they actually exist.

This is a very timely book but not timeless so if you can, get over your cynicism and apathy or your devout party loyalty and get it while it’s still relevent - it’s a worthy read that is educational and inspiring…even if you decide not to make the switch.

Technorati Tags: we the purple, book, review, marcia ford, independents, politics


  1. -bill — July 4, 2008 #

    Great review!

    Hope you have a happy birthday!


  2. blake — July 7, 2008 #

    i really enjoyed this book (and wrote a review here). especially the overarching notion that independents are not just wishy washy undecideds who have no values. i’ve always considered myself an independent and nonpartisan but was uneasy about publicly labeling myself because of the connotation. after reading, i, like you, am emboldened to become official.

    great review!

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