Title: We the Purple: Faith, Politics, and the Independent Voter
Author: Marcia Ford
Publication Date: 19 March 2008
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In We the Purple, Ford describes and interprets her fellow “Purple” voters—independents who are neither Republican red nor Democratic blue. Through dozens of interviews with independent voters and candidates, politicians, political observers and activists of many stripes, she explains how these citizens eschew partisan politics, guided instead by their core values, their faith, and their experience.
Purple voters won’t settle for the one or two issues identified for them by politicians, lobbyists, or religious leaders. It’s a slippery voting bloc for politicians and pundits to get a handle on—they have no allegiance to party and no partisan ideology to uphold. If officeholders they help elect don’t do something to fix what needs fixing, independents have no reason to ever vote for them again.
Many Christians, like Ford, are independent voters, and she examines how faith influences their unaffiliated political stance. Many Christian independents feel disenfranchised and unwelcome at churches if they are not in agreement with the prevailing political views. “As paradoxical as the image may seem, if Christians remained morally centered, their votes could swing all along the political spectrum. And that include the votes of prominent Christian leaders,” Ford says. “If religion is to play a prophetic role in the culture and in the political process, then people of faith need the freedom to speak prophetic words openly, without fear of repercussion or losing face,” Ford says.
If you’re interested in politics, I recommend this book to you. If you think politics is the most boring thing in existence, I recommend this book to you. Basically, if you breathe air, I recommend this book to you.
I have never read a book about politics of my own volition because I thought they would be boring and heavy like politics usually is. Well this book is anything but boring. So many interesting points were tackled here, from the difficulties that independent candidates face to the diverse thinking of various independent voters to the unfairness that so many voters face nation-wide. All of it was interesting and intense. Throughout the book, I experienced a mirage of emotions ranging from anger to awe but mostly frustration at the overly complex and unfair system that is currently in place.
Although this book is no longer the most up to date- it is, after all, eight years old- the majority of the issues discussed remain applicable to today. I really enjoyed the discussion on the various manners in which third- party candidates are hindered from getting on ballots across all states. It’s obviously frustrating but also intriguing to actually have proof that the Democratic and Republican parties are willing to work together when it’s in their best interests.
Aside from the interesting political issues, Ford also included anecdotes from various voices within the independent community. Most of these were pretty uninteresting and, frankly, the book would have been better without them. Despite that, I understand that Ford was trying to create a personal connection, to show how each of these facts affected real people and what some of these people were doing to combat the issue.
You’ll notice that until now I haven’t actually mentioned religion quite yet. That’s simply because it really isn’t something that detracts from the information that Ford is trying to tell. In fact, when discussing religion, she refrained from being pushy or mean. Instead, she spoke about it as though they were values that shape one’s political opinion. Do not let the title or the synopsis stop you from reading this book; Christianity is just another point of discussion not a soap box that Ford stands on.
Overall, This book was a stimulating read and comes highly recommended. It really got me thinking about the political system and opened my eyes to some of the behind the scenes that aren’t so readily available to the public. Seriously, go pick it up and read it.