Book Trailer For Madam President

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Twenty Million People Thrown Under the Bus

FDR understood that if he didn't do something fast then the United States would turn turtle and possibly go Bolshevik. The Great Depression had made a lot of people doubt capitalism and many felt they had nothing to lose. Roosevelt knew you had to keep the middle class in the game and so the New Deal was born and many think it saved the United States from revolution. What do we have now. We have the Republicans sneakily destroying the ACA and that means people will die. Donald Trump should listen to the wind of the past and know that if you push people too far they will decide they have nothing left to lose.

Without Obama to villify then the ACA becomes just health care reform. Like it. Hate It. Twenty million people use it and if you combine it with stripping medicaid and then privatizing medicare well you better put on your helmet. You simply cant destroy the middle class and expect them to participate in society. Republican or Democrat you have a family to raise and mouths to feed and you need health care. Take the basics away from people and you have the 1930s all over again. The republicans are trying to turn back the clock but they do so at their peril.

Look at Brexit. Look at how fast the Soviet Union fell apart. Roosevelt understood that the middle class is America and it was not the rich. People may admire the rich but most have to pay their bills and struggle along. Ignore history and suffer the consequences.  

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Historical Significance of the Womens March

Alice Paul endured an  insane asylum and being force fed after being imprisoned. She headed up the National Organization of Women and believed the only way women would get the vote was through direct confrontation with the  men who held power. The President Woodrow Wilson and his young new wife Edith motored through the White House gates while suffragettes chained themselves to the gates and laid down in front of the presidential limousine. Wilson believed in state control of the vote and didn't think the Federal government should get involved.

Alice Paul would not be ignored. She managed to get arrested along with other women and ended up in prison. The President offered a pardon and they refused. A hunger strike began with Alice leading the way. Wilson began to lose the public relations battle when Paul became very ill and wealthy women began to join the picket line. Force feeding commenced but still Paul would not give up. The commitment to an insane asylum only hurt the presidents case.

Paul was released and Wilson eventually ended up asking congress to pass legislation giving the vote to women. It failed but the ball had started rolling and in 1921 women got the vote. And now women are marching to protest another president. This one wants to set women's rights back fifty years. The use of protest and creating dis-ease was Alice Pauls favorite tactic. She could relate to the women gearing up for the 21st.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Donald Trumps Rare Opportunity

Trump could reset the whole game. I mean the whole game by coming forward and really providing a health care plan that would cover everyone and drop premiums and deductibles. He will have to do it alone because the Republicans wont go for it and the drug companies wont either. If the democrats see daylight in a better plan that will cover the twenty million about to lose their coverage then they could get on board. But here it is. He is up to bat and he has to prove he doesn't owe anyone anything and he really does care about people who are without health coverage.

Up until now it has all been insanity. But lets face it. Foibles aside if he can be a battering ram who breaks down walls and barriers and DOES THE RIGHT THING. Well, then that is a game changer. That is a whole new ball game. So far greed has been the Ayn Rand Paul Ryan platform of let the weak die out because only the strong deserve to live . It is the tight fisted far right dogma...but if  we might have a truly independent president beholding to nobody...then we might have a chance.  But the republicans will not go down without a fight.

Trump will have to throw off the last McConnell Ryan shackles of crony capitalism and show that he really cares about the little guy. Hopefully there is that Brooklyn guy back there in his DNA who knows what its like for the guy who really needs health care. It is Donald's moment to reset the whole game. Lets see what he comes up with.

Madam President the Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

The Experiential View of History

People may not agree with your thesis and that is ok. Traditionally history books have been a recitation of facts capped off with a thesis that supposedly is supported by these facts. I like big thick history books for  my own personal reading but I am not a majority. In fact I do not really believe in the method. History books are often judged by citing new information as the salient point of any new history book. Or that the author should come up with a radical thesis not presented before.

This is ridiculous. It is the journey not the destination. Unfortunately many authors rely on the  old method of bigger is better. People do not want to be  buried in information so a publisher can sell a five hundred page book. It is connotation versus denotation; what is implied is always much powerful than what is literally stated. This is true of fiction and nonfiction.

But some writers feel that the proliferating of  facts justifies the thesis. History should be told in scenes like a novel. In the year 2017  this is the job of narrative nonfiction. In Madam President I leave it up to the reader to decide if Edith Wilson was the president. It is through the multifarious layering of the story in scenes that  the reader arrives at truth or verisimilitude. To do anything else is playing  with a stacked deck.

I think people want to learn history but they also want to interact with it. The writing style should convey the story and step out of the way. A simple style is usually better sprinkled with bits of prose that carries the weight of the scene. To hit people over the head with heavy turgid facts is inviting the reader to close the book on a story that should be told.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Friday, January 13, 2017

Selling Books at Barnes and Noble

The first thing you do is find your table. It is by the door which is a good thing. You will be the first person someone sees when they walk in and walk out. Your books are piled up and displayed. Your sign is in place. The Community Relations Coordinator asks if you need anything. No you say. Water. No. Ok. She walks away and you pull out your bookmarks. These are your ammo. They have the name of your book and and the name of your forthcoming book. They are the giveaway. There is a chair behind the table. You won't use it.

You have seen those authors before. They are sitting in stores behind a table with their books piled high. People walk by the oprhan who stares into space. Some stop to ask the author if he or she knows where the bathroom is. Or do they know where they can find the next Harry Potter book. The forlorn author tells them in fact they are an author. People are not quite sure what to make of the them and they go back to being invisible.

In the year 2017 no author can afford to sit back unless you are a runaway bestseller and many are not. So that chair remains empty while you talk to every person who walks in and introduce yourself and your book. People actually like to talk to authors. They have chose a funky career path and that in itself is interesting. Four hours later you leave with your voice hoarse and your brain spent. You have sold seventeen books and handed  out fifty bookmarks. Not bad.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What if Madam President had won?

People would not be worried about losing their health coverage. Scratch that they will be losing their health coverage so people would not be terrified about losing their coverage. We would not be looking at the Chinese amping up their military for the new administration that has already ignored years of policy by calling the Taiwan president. The Russians would be back in their box instead of inside the United States government. The President Elect would not have called our intelligence services third rate and bogus.

Minorities would not be staring down the gun barrel of a return to hate. Women would not be marching on Washington. Groups would be lining up to play at the inaugural balls. The President Elect would not attack Saturday Night Live every week with tweets. Three million people would still believe in the electoral process. Women and little girls would sleep easier all over the world along with African Americans, Mexicans, Asians, Muslims. The wall and the Muslim ban would all belong to an election that went strange, went weird

The White House would be where the president and their family lived and governed. New York would not be in the cross hairs of every terrorist who wants to take out the president. News conferences would be civil and informative. The glass ceiling would have been shattered and history made. Barack Obamas legacy would endure. The world would be a better place.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grace Under Pressure in Ft Lauderdale

You want to be brave but gunfire gets you running. Hemingway's definition of courage rings in your ears as you run like hell. Fight or flight.  Grace under pressure. It should be a mantra that one can rely on but if you read  The Short Happy Life of Francis McComber or Red Badge of Courage then you know it does not always come the first time. In both of these stories the hero is found wanting in the first engagement with a lion or war. The fear is something you can taste and grace deserts you in that first flash.  

You tell yourself that the next time you will look and see what is going on. That you wont succumb to the numbing rush of adrenaline that gets you running like a star halfback. It is a very powerful drug. That you will somehow fight back and get control of yourself. In the Hemingway's short story and Red Badge of Courage both protagonists assert themselves in the second brush with death. One dies in the process and one makes it through but they have conquered their fear and grace is present under pressure. 

The problem is you don't know when that second challenge will come. It may never come and you want to think that you will be ready. But it is the very randomness of a shooting that is terrifying. You don't know. Nobody does. All you can do his hope that is doesn't and if it does you will be able to grab a little grace under pressure during  the primal fight to stay alive. 

Books by William Hazelgrove