Date: 01/10 Time: 4pm
Michael R. French discusses his latest book.
"Cliff HangerJump Before You Get Pushed"
n 2030, viruses, spy drones, terrorism, and joblessness have eroded American optimism. People want something to believe in. As demonstrated in a Midwest high school election, politics have taken on the inflexibility and dogma of a new religion. Only true believers will survive and prosper. Or so they think.
My wife and i just watched a PBS special on 93-year-old naturalist and filmmaker Sir David Attenborough and his thoughts on the planet. Please see it, especially if you’re a denier of man-made climate change. There’s a simple subtext: if we made the mess, we’re responsible for cleaning it up.
Pass the envelope. And the winner is…the voter.
Specifically, millions of new voters, many of whom were in their teens and twenties, stormed the barricades. The #neveragain and other movements of the last four years were great motivators. In my generation, most of us didn’t vote until our thirties, if then, finally figuring out that politics matter. So what was different this time? Metaphorically speaking, a lot of us of all ages and races felt that democracy had come down with COVID, and unless we voted, no one could be sure it would survive. The 65% voter turnout was, I believe, a record for an American presidential election. May the tree of democracy continue to grow. America used to be known principally for its military and economic might. Now, there is additional power to harvest for the world to see. One voice, one vote, to start the list.
In my modest new novel Cliffhanger, it’s 2030 and America is going through tough times again. An 18 year old young woman, running for political office, makes her voice singular, irresistible, and unsinkable in a sea of anger apathy. In history, so often it’s one person who makes the difference.
CLIFFANGER is a novel taking place in 2030. What are you saying about how America might be changing?
A. In my view, after owning the 20th Century, America began to lose its way… starting with 9/11. The terrorist assaults on the twin towers, the Pentagon, and the aborted attack on the White House, were the wellspring of mixed national feelings: xenophobia, insecurity, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and the us-against-them polarization of tribalism. Many of us waited for these fears to dissipate, to return to common sense, but they only grew stronger. If the damage to our country’s identity and self-esteem was an earthquake, I would say that September 11 was a nine out of ten on the Richter Scale. No matter who wins on Nov 3, the aftershocks will still keep coming.
Michael French is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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