If you’ve recently turned on the news or read the newspaper, it’s likely you walked away depressed and discouraged. The U. S., and much of the world, seems to be struggling through a period of bitter division. In the U. S. much of this discord is centered around politics. Your either on the Left or the Right and whichever you declare, you must hate the other. If you believe your TV, all of life’s events must be viewed through the lens of politics.
But, is your life really this way? Do you and your neighbor incessantly argue about the upcoming election? Are you and the person in the office next to you unable to carry on a professional conversation due to political differences? My anecdotal sample says that’s not the case. That most ordinary citizens go about their daily lives largely unaffected by the political persuasions of the person next to them. Then why does it seem so different when you turn on the news?
I have an allegory to illustrate what I think is going on. Imagine you’re at a family Thanksgiving gathering. The family is huddled in the kitchen hearing the latest tales of kid’s football games, the spelling bee, and the new truck your cousin just purchased. The turkey is sliced, the sweet potato casserole is on the counter, and the smell of fresh bread fills the room. As you’re laughing at your brother’s latest corny joke, you hear a loud disturbance coming from the family room next door. Before you can check out the commotion, your Uncle Dave and Uncle Ralph burst through the doorway in full grapple. Uncle Ralph picks up the mashed potatoes and throws them at Uncle Dave. Uncle Dave retaliates by conking his adversary over the head with the platter of turkey. Finally, the two combatants are separated long enough to find out the source of the conflict. “He wanted to watch college football, but we always watch the NFL on Thanksgiving Day!” Uncle Dave screams. “Well, today we’re going to watch the NFL!” Retorts Uncle Ralph. As the two prepare to resume the fisticuffs, Uncle Ralph addresses the familial crowd and demands, “OK, who’s with me? Who wants to watch the NFL?!” Meanwhile Uncle Dave shouts, “Who’s with me? Who wants to watch college football?! Everybody here has to pick a side!”
That’s the place our country finds itself. You are trying to simply live your life, provide for your family, have some down time, maybe take a vacation. You just want to live. Meanwhile, politicians, with help from their friends in the ratings-starved media, are trying to drag you into their fight, demanding that you take sides. They are trying to turn your life into one giant food fight.
I’ve written a novel titled, Manipulated that attempts to illustrate the phenomenon. While Manipulated is a work of fiction, it is grounded in the premise that you are being manipulated. You’re being manipulated into joining a fight in which you really have no interest.
The first half of the book provides a back story illustrating an American political system soiled by political parties, a misguided media, and lots and lots of money, all orchestrated by a clandestine organization known as Mouse Trap.
The second half of the book provides a glimpse at what the 2016 election might have looked like had a different candidate been introduced into the campaign. A candidate not bound to either political party, deep-pocket investors, or Washington insiders. A candidate who had absolutely no interest in the job but is drafted by those that know him best to fix a broken system. A candidate who personifies integrity, character, and humility, guided by his faith.
I hope you’ll consider reading Manipulated and it affects you the way in affected these readers:
“Talk about a timely book, "Manipulated" is it! Mr. Clayton makes you reconsider how all of us are influenced by today's instant information (or misinformation!) social media environment. Although fiction, it captures the real frustration that many of us have with our current political stalemate, but also reminds us that there is a viable solution, and that solution is us.”
“The author does a fantastic job of presenting current political issues in a fair and balanced manner. However, the “deep state” - government bureaucrats, main stream media, high-tech social media moguls, and big business can and will do whatever is necessary to circumvent the people and the democratic process. An autopsy of our current political system.”
“Ties together the prevalence of social media in our lives, Big Brother, media bias, and the feeling that good people don’t run for President. The perfect book for this time in America. You will never look at a Fox or CNN news report the same - I guarantee it.”
If you’re frustrated by what you hear, see, and read about American politics, my plea to you is that it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to accept the status quo. You have the power to change it. I hope you find Manipulated provides some motivation to make that change.
John Ford Clayton