American in Turmoil
America in Turmoil by John DeQ. Briggs is an engaging and thought-provoking collection of essays that offer the author’s insightful perspective on many of the complex and momentous events that occurred, largely in the United States, during the tumultuous period from late 2019, when whispers about the emergence of a new and potentially deadly virus were just beginning, to early 2023, when things both domestically and on the world stage still appeared far from normal.
The founding editor of The Chesapeake Observer, Briggs originally wrote the included essays for his “Thinking about Things” column, an approach that imbues them with the valuable journalistic qualities of concision, clarity, and timeliness. Moreover, this approach ensures that the issues discussed in the book are representative of matters of concern for the general public during the period in question.
Indeed, one of the strengths of America in Turmoil is the diverse range of topics that Briggs considers, thereby elucidating the multifaceted challenges that America and Americans (and, less frequently, those located elsewhere who nevertheless fell within the remit of America policy and politics) during a nearly four-year period characterized by a surprising amount of upheaval.
The opening essay, “Money, Demographics, and Politics,” presents Briggs’ point of view on America’s expenditure, encompassing budget, debt, and income. He considers where the money comes from and where it goes from a demographic perspective, suggesting that party politics has given rise to a sort of cognitive dissonance when it comes to balancing the books, both now and in the future. Although Briggs is himself a Republican, he criticizes both the Biden administration’s approach and Trumpian rhetoric in this regard.
In fact, perhaps due to his dislike for what Donald Trump has done to the Republican Party, while still espousing largely “conservative” views, Briggs’ analyses are generally pragmatic and non-partisan. In assessing events and issues such as the downward spiral in American education, media consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine, and much more, Briggs displays a keen eye for detail and a predominantly even-handed assessment of facts and opinions.
Here, the harshest criticisms are reserved for Joe Biden and Donald Trump, both of whom have provoked Briggs’ ire due to the damage he perceives them to have done to America at home and abroad. In “Mr. Magoo as President and the Collapse of the President’s Poll Numbers” he sets out the negative political and economic consequences of the Biden administrations polices up to October 2021, while in “What Will They Do without Trump to Bash?” he critiques the Trump administration’s lack of policy coherence and foresight.
In striving to present fair and balanced reporting, Briggs allows readers from across the political spectrum to engage with the subjects and arguments of his essays without feeling alienated or unheard, always striving to encourage critical thinking and the development of a constructive dialogue. Additionally, Briggs’ writing style is clear and accessible, making America in Turmoil an informative read for anyone interested in better understanding the challenges faced by America and those within its sphere of influence during this particularly unsettled period.
While not all of Briggs’ views are going to appeal to all readers, America in Turmoil represents a valuable addition to the popular discourse on recent American history, politics, and economics. Briggs provides a subjective but predominantly balanced examination of significant events, inviting readers to engage with the material in a way that fosters debate. Ultimately, the collected essays will benefit those seeking a deeper understanding of many of the challenges and opportunities that America has faced since late 2019.
|Author||John DeQ. Briggs|
|Page Count||250 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Current Events & Politics|