Surprise! After learning (with shock) that I was not telling a tall tale about going on Air America on Wednesday night, my publisher has “rushed” the publication of my first book, Growing Up Red: Outing Red America From the Inside. It is available today, in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats.
To buy a copy, click to my website, http://www.growingupred.com and click to iUniverse from the front page.
Or buy directly at iUniverse:
I will be taking out an ad banner on the Booman Tribune next week. But in the meantime, read about my book.
Growing up in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, author Tim Schilke knew that his concerns about some generally accepted suburban truths were often left unanswered. He later learned that a carefully crafted Red-suburban version of reality isolated him from nearly everything real.
“Red truth” was a strange morph of God, Patriotism, and Republicans. When this uniquely Red-suburban mentality played a role in winning President George W. Bush a second term in late 2004, Schilke began an investigation into the driving factors behind his Red upbringing, which still persist and thrive today in suburban and rural America.
From carefully-guarded moral relativism, to the Army’s questionable recruiting techniques; from Major League Baseball’s tainted home run records, to the myth of the Ownership Society; Schilke maps these current events back into the perspective of his Red upbringing.
Why does Red-suburban middle-America consistently vote against its own interests in election after election? Growing Up Red attempts to show that, in Red America, it is simply the patriotic thing to do. In Red America, raw Faith trumps Knowledge. Carefully-tweaked irrational fear drives never-ending consumption. A Republican President marches arm-in-arm with God down Main Street every Fourth of July.
What happens when actual reality starts to bleed through the carefully-protected fences of suburbia? Find out in Growing Up Red.
Introduction: An American Shade of Red
Chapter 1: Born on the 16th of January
Flip Flopping Evolutionary Creationism
God, Country and Republicans
Tossing Babies from their Incubators
“Give Peace a Chance”
Chapter 2: Growing up Red
Tears over Jimmy
Red House Values
The Reagan Revolution
Chapter 3: Facing Red House Ghosts
Moral Relativism in Suburban America
The Intercessor’s Elephant Gun
It’s Not Torture Unless We Say It’s Torture
Sodomy of the Mind
Real American Values
The New Morality
Chapter 4: War and Country and The American Media
Deducing a Draft
Saving Private Face
Armstrong Williams and Pay for Play
Sinclair Broadcasting: A Liberal Media Case Study
Seeking Out Varied Opinions
Chapter 5: America On a Bumper
Bumper Sticker Politics
Safe from the Evildoers
Who’s Your Daddy?
Doomed to Repeat
Educating to Comply
You Have the Right to Go Back to Class
Teaching Directly to the Tests
Don’t Challenge Me, Please!
Chapter 6: The Reality-Based Chapter
Marketing America’s Army
Long Term Avoidance
Hard-Coding Saddam to the PTSD
Homers and Pills and Shots in the Ass
Have Faith Young Man
Finding Truth on a Turkey Farm
The Fallback Reality
Blame the Trial Lawyers
Chapter 7: The Dawn of Fear
Learning to Fear
Sunday Drivers on a Beautiful Tuesday Morning
No Really, You Will Never Forget
Don’t Mess with Texas
The War On Mud Huts Continues, News at 11
Puppets and Their Pipelines
Chapter 8: Fear’s Agenda Takes Hold
Waves of Fear
Safe and Warm In the Suburbs
Winning over the Security Moms
The Anti-Patriots Proliferate
Affronting the Real Patriots
You Don’t Need These Anymore Do You?
Freedoms Lost – Patriot Act Case Studies
Loyalty Oaths and the Republican National Convention
The Next Generation of Patriots
Sitting in the Family Section
Chapter 9: Most of History’s Lessons are Never Learned
Napping Through History Class
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798
Espionage and Sedition Acts of WWI
Temporary Insanity for Temporary Safety
Fascism in the United States?
Looking Back at the Present Day
Chapter 10: On the Front Lines of Class Warfare
Thriving in Middle America
Tax Breaks for the Middle Class!
Following in Reagan’s Footsteps
George Bailey Democrats
Off-shoring the American Dream
Denouncing My “Fiscal Conservativism”
My “Free Market” Coworkers
The Nicest Buildings in Every Small Town
Epilogue: Bigger Than You Can Imagine
The Castle on the Hill
About the Election
Letter to the Red States
Blueness is a State of Mind
America the Beautiful
Notes and References
Sample from Chapter 1: “Born on the 16th of January”
The guys in the room down the hall actually had the lights turned off and the sound cranked up through the stereo speakers, just like they had watched the movie “Terminator” the night before. Each bomb flash lit up the walls with reddish orange colors, and the colors flickered in and out like a demented Fourth of July fireworks show.
It was 1991, and I was just eighteen years old. I had really never spoken out against (or for) anything in my life, because I never wanted to cause any trouble. It was at that precise moment that I realized I was different from the other guys in the room, the others on the floor, and most others in the dormitory. Instead of cheering, I was literally overcome by rage against the country for that I had waved the flag with so much pride for my first eighteen years of life. For the first time in my life, I was questioning my country, and it was a truly horrible feeling for a Red-tinted kid. It was as though I had grabbed my own heart, torn it out, and it was beating right there in my hand in front of me.
I walked into the room. There were at least eight guys sitting and standing, crowded around the television, still making a ruckus. I did not even like these fucking guys. I mean, what kind of sick bastards would cheer for war and death? I was nothing like these guys, and I could not wait to prove it. At that moment I instinctively said the first negative thing I ever said about my country.
“You know, there are innocent people dying,” I said. “And I’m not really sure why the hell we are there anyway. I don’t think it’s very cool to be cheering right now.”
I was shaking uncontrollably as I said it. I hated saying it. It was the proudest and yet the most miserable moment of my life. What had I just done? Would God strike me down? The Redness oozed out of me and onto the carpet, where it just lay there, rotting and stinking.
In the summer of 1990, I had seen the movie version of Ron Kovac’s story, called Born on the Fourth of July. I was a train wreck after watching that movie, which portrayed life in America for a soldier returning from Vietnam. Like most Red house kids in the 1980s, my previous exposure to war was entirely from history books. In the official version, there were heroes and there were evildoers. The school book accounts contained no gray areas. The official factual version did not mention soldiers returning from war with catheters and flashbacks, and missing limbs. This event now unfolding in Iraq was real. It was not on the screen and not on the pages. The bombs were falling on real buildings, real people were dying, and there I was with my racing heart in my hand.
The silence in the room was palpable as the bombs continued to fall and the walls continued to flicker red and orange. After a long uncomfortable silence, one of the guys in the room stood up, picked me up by my shirt, and threw me up against the wall. He held me up there, our faces bathed in reddish orange light, for at least thirty seconds. He was breathing heavily, the anger and testosterone and Christian values dripping in and out with each breath. I swear I could hear his thoughts. “God and country and Republicans, you Liberal Fuck. God and country and Republicans, you Liberal Fuck. Did you forget to pray for our troops?” I thought he was going to kill me.
Finally he spoke. “You are going to support your country and the troops that are over there, or you are going to leave this room.” He put me down, still breathing venomously. A few others came and grabbed him and pulled him back away from me. They were staring at me like I had leprosy. I could swear that I saw fear in their faces.
On that winter evening in 1991, I left the room with my tail between my legs. And I regret it to this day. If I had it to do over again, I would fight back – until I had no fight left in me. My brain was finally awake to the reality of war, and there was no turning back.
Thanks for your help!
(This will be my last diary promoting this book. Sorry for the shameless advertising.)