A House Divided

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9780874778748: A House Divided

Outlines the opposing political viewpoints that have divided and polarized the American people and discusses the need to find common ground for moving beyond these viewpoints and forming a new patriotism

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A former flower child's disjointed exhortation for everyone to get along and have a little faith in democracy. When he was a child in the 1950s, writes Gerzon (Coming into Our Own, 1992, etc.), three in four citizens believed that government served their best interests; the figure now stands at one in eight. What has replaced the United States, in Gerzon's annoying conceit, is a Divided States of America, whose residents are citizens of six different nations: patria, the religious state, which argues that America is a Christian nation; corporatia, the capitalist state, based on unwavering belief in the free market; disia, the disempowered state, which believes that government is founded on the oppression of racial and economic minorities; media, the suprastate, ``a part of the corporate conglomerates, yet distinct from them''; gaia, the transformation state, whose citizens feel that ``a new paradigm of thinking . . . is transforming every aspect of society''; and officia, the governing state, whose citizens believe that government alone can override the divisions in society. ``Can a nation whose citizens hold fundamentally different beliefs remain united?'' Gerzon asks. Answering in the negative, he raises the fear that present social conditions will result in civil war. To stem the bitter divisions (our awareness of which he ties to the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of an external enemy) Gerzon, a professional mediator and consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation, proposes a series of community-building endeavors that are unlikely to bring Jesse Helms and Jesse Jackson to the same table. His prescriptions boil down to dewy New Age nostrums, as he invites us to join in a ``campaign for our country'': ``We must view America,'' he writes, ``with the humility and wonder with which a child looks through a kaleidoscope.'' Gerzon makes astute use of printed sources to back up his arguments, but his analysis remains maddeningly superficial and wholly unconvincing. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Gerzon (The Whole World Is Watching) defines six overlapping yet adversarial belief systems that, he contends, dominate American life. Adherents of Corporatia champion the free market and believe that the private sector should set the nation's agenda. Citizens of Disia ("the Disempowered State"), including leftists, feminists, black and gay activists, see a society based on exploitation and oppression. Gaia's subscribers pursue social action grounded in global consciousness. The remaining three belief systems are Officia (faith in government), Patria (the religious right) and Media (those who set their standards by TV, radio, computers and entertainment superstars). Gerzon complements his analysis with profiles of bridge-building "new patriots," among them Paul Gorman, head of the interfaith organization National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and Marjorie Kelley, founding editor of Business Ethics magazine. Gerzon, who is preachy, concludes by challenging readers thus: "Create your own agenda for repairing this magnificent house we call America." 50,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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