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Stop the Screaming!

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of listening to and reading people who scream their opinions at us. It seems to be a modern phenomenon that is hard to avoid. And publishers aren’t immune to it either. Just look at the political books that have come out over the last 5-8 years, many of them from screamers.

With too many cable news channels, zillions of internet sites, more zillions of blogs, and a burgeoning political book business over the last 8-10 years, it seems that we feel the need to scream at each other to be heard. Add to this the massive amounts of money politicians need to raise to compete in the arena, and their need to energize the “base” (read the lunatic fringe of the left and the right) in order to scare money out of people’s pockets, and you have a political discourse that is out of control and downright silly. Everyone is an ideologue and few seem sane.

Enter Peggy Noonan.

Ms. Noonan writes a column every Saturday in the WSJ. It is something I look forward to each week. If you don’t know her, Ms. Noonan was Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter for a long time. She was one of the best—EVER. JFK had his Ted Sorensen; Reagan had Peggy. That’s why we remember so much of what JFK and Reagan said: great speechwriters . Both Presidents went to Berlin, and rendered two of the most memorable lines of my life. Kennedy: “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Reagan: “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down that wall!”

Each week she shows a kind of wisdom, compassion, and common sense that is sorely lacking in our polity these days. Each week she helps us really understand who we are as Americans: that, I think, is her special gift—to remind us who we are, to remind us that we live in a place that is still an IDEA as much as a country, and to remind us why that IDEA is still a unique experiment in history. Finally, she reminds us that we are still a people of the middle, a commonsensical bunch that usually has abhorred extremes.

And she is a wonderful writer. As an example of her column, click on the link below. She takes what most idealogues have embraced as an issue of hate (speaking English in the US), and helps us see the humanity under the issue.

I like articles that make me see what I didn't see before; I like publishing books like that too.

Here is the url for her article: