Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Politics Writing from Esquire - Pierce, Marche & Jones

Latest Esquire featured three different excellent pieces that dealt with politics.

One of them was a solid Presidential candidate profile, one a commentary on the President and one a ridiculously profound look at our country's political discourse and the violence it's wrought.

The profile is by Chris Jones and titled "Romney Doesn't Scare Obama. This Guy Does" on Republican challenger Jon Huntsman. It's a solid look at someone who could be a formidable general election opponent. On the subject of the President, Stephen Marche penned "How Can We Not Love Obama? Because like it or not, he is all of us". Oftentimes I find myself skimming Marche's monthly 1,000 words column, but here he provides a really interesting piece.


Best of the three, though, is "The Bomb That Didn't Go Off" by Charles Pierce. It's a thought-provoking look at domestic terrorism and how it's caused in part by a poisonous climate of political conversation. Pierce begins the piece with the gripping tale of an attempted Martin Luther King Day parade bombing earlier this year in Spokane, WA.

That story in itself was compelling and worthwhile narrative, but it's then tied to what Pierce terms a fragmentation of politics into an us vs them combat rather than conversation between people and parties. The point is made that the perpetrators of such terroristic acts are simply labeled nut jobs and we go on with our lives, but perhaps a closer look should be paid to what's bringing so many cases out of the woodwork. Pierce references journalist David Neiwert who counts close to 30 such acts of right-wing violence (completed or foiled) since 2008 and uses that as backing for his point that ignoring the cause of the attempts and climate that ferments them just keeps the cycle going.

Pierce strikes me as home-run type of writer who I at times read without taking much away from and sometimes am practically awestruck by how good a piece he has written. This story definitely falls into the latter category with his combining together of an extremely human story of an attempted terrorist act with a larger take-away message. As stated in the beginning of this post... ridiculously profound writing.