When pondering, discussing, arguing, and lecturing on the state of this political season, one can be naturally inclined to consider only the events and realities of today. However, the current political system and electoral cycle, one historian would argue, is surely not the result solely of recent leadership decisions, circumstances and conflicts, but of 50 years of process and change.
Remedying this “present-minded” conversation and putting forth an “even-handed attempt” to give a more balanced perspective to current politics is historian, scholar, and College of Staten Island (CSI) Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Gary Reichard. His recently published, highly relevant, and undeniably timely book, Deadlock and Disillusionment: American Politics since 1968, “helps to examine our more recent past, see when things have worked better in the recent past, and understand the root causes of the current dysfunction in politics,” according to Dr. Reichard. The book is part of Wiley Blackwell’s American History Series, in which Reichard has already published a volume on the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies.
“I think the title of the book really describes our problem and its thesis leads right into what’s going way wrong now,” noted Dr. Reichard, adding that many books today on current American politics “do not explain what has been happening for decades, which is a sequential growth of non-cooperation and polarization between the two major parties and total cynicism and disillusionment in the American public.”
Dr. Reichard will be discussing his book at The Friends of CSI Literary Brunch on September 18 from 11:00am to 2:00pm in the Campus Center Green Dolphin Lounge.
Moderated by Professor Rich Flanagan, the panel discussion, which includes Tom Wrobleski from the Staten Island Advance, will aim to bring members of the campus community together to have an open dialogue about politics and the many issues surrounding it.
“This event is an attempt to discuss today’s most important issues in as objective a way as possible, having all viewpoints respected. It’s always useful to have a reasoned exchange of views on political realities,” said Dr. Reichard, who lamented that “Though we all have our own perspectives, we are sorely lacking in arenas to discuss our political differences. A setting like this is perfect.”
The panel will feature Dr. Reichard as the key speaker, followed by the opportunity for questions and discussion. Representatives from the news media will be present, and signed copies of Dr. Reichard’s book will be available for purchase.
The book, which is approximately 300 pages in length in its first edition, is a text geared primarily for use in college courses, but, as Dr. Reichard points out, “is intended to be very accessible to the general population.”
More information on Deadlock and Disillusionment: American Politics since 1968 is available on the Wiley website.
The prolific author has already begun crafting his next work The New Civil Rights Revolution: The Quest for LGBT Rights since 1945, which will be published in the same series.
As the U.S. approaches another divisive election, another new president, and another chapter in its own history, Dr. Reichard leaves the reader to ponder the last line of his last chapter: “The way forward is not clear, but it will need to be found if the United States is to survive as an effective democracy – let alone exercise anything like leadership in today’s rapidly changing world.”