Book Report: Coming of Age
14 December 2004, 8:45 PM
One of the nice things about a Studs Terkel books is that it comes in nice bite-size chunks, which make it nice to have around and read just two or three pages at a time. Maybe read about Jessie de la Cruz one day, or in a week just read the Norman Corwin one, or go nuts and read Olga Companioni and Harry Hay one after another, and then not read anything for a month, and then read Gene LaRocque, and then another and another. In that fashion, I read Coming of Age over the last six months or so. It’s a marvelous book, however you read it.
You know, over the years of this last presidential campaign, I frequently heard people talking about the Democratic Party with a name to modify it. Conservatives within the party (or just outside) would call themselves [John] Kennedy Democrats, technopeaceniks called themselves Dean Democrats, and old New Dealers called themselves Roosevelt Democrats. There were Clinton Democrats and Clark Democrats and McGovern Democrats and even a couple of Jefferson Democrats. I started calling myself a Whitman Democrat, just as a joke, but really I think I’m a Studs Terkel Democrat.
Not that the fellah’s got the policies that I think will bring Demotopia, just that he is what I want the party to be, and what I want the country to be. He’s a curiosity shop of humanity, who celebrates not only the differences between people but the similarities as well, and who knows that people are of their time and outside it, and who knows that the long view is important but the short view is as well, and who frankly just likes people. If Studs Terkel were the face of the party, well, we might not win elections, but damn’ if we wouldn’t make a better world while we were losing them.