Walnut Rise

Growin' it in the ground

Democracy in Chains, by Nancy MacLean

I wrote this letter to Nancy MacLean, a professor of contemporary history at Duke University:

Professor MacLean,

Your newest book is devastating, timely, awful, hopeful, inspiring. Most importantly, “Democracy…” is awakening. I feel like it is perhaps improper to use the term “woke,” out of the context of racial injustice and systemic racism, but it seems like the most accurate word to encompass the feeling your book invokes.

It felt exactly like I, a very progressive, native-West Coaster, had been deceived for a long time. And it turns out to be true! Now, when I hear “states rights” invoked to defend state-regulated marijuana (which I grow), I cringe. I now know that the anger I felt towards the federal government about things like cannabis is a manufactured anger designed and paid for by the radical right. It makes me furious (maybe a little strong).

Do you ever travel out to the West Coast for speaking engagements? I feel like our little community (which includes a small liberal arts college, Linfield College) really needs to hear your words in person. On the other hand, our local public library had your book on the “new” shelf, because the head librarian is constantly on the lookout for books like yours (shout-out to Jenny Berg!). I am going to request your other books (Behind the Mask of Chivalry and Freedom is Not Enough), now.

Thank you again! Keep up the great writing!

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