Chris Hayes's book for the times.

Author:Clinton, Kate
Position:UNPLUGGED - A Colony in a Nation

In the early years of this Viagracene Epoch, the first 100 Days of the Trump Misrule seemed to have lasted as long as the Hundred Years' War.


But it is a known fact of time and physics that once that last western Fourth of July firework ember hisses into the Pacific, it's pretty much a greased-lightning, downhill slide into the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa holidays. (Take that multicultural holiday reference, Bill O'Reilly!)

Seems like one day it's burgers on the grill, potato salad, and hide-and-seek games out in the yard. Next day, it's chestnuts roasting on an open fire, potato latkes, and trying to find the holiday gifts you hid somewhere in the house.

It is therefore perfect that I get a jump on my holiday book recommendations. This Independence Day, give the gift of Chris Hayes's book A Colony in a Nation. It's a great flip-flop stuffer.

I can't imagine when Hayes had time or energy to write it. He's hosted his nightly MSNBC show, All In with Chris Hayes, logging almost as many hours as CNN's Blitzer-bot during the endless presidential campaign. His post-election town hall meetings with Trump voters, with Chicago residents living in high-crime neighborhoods, and with a West Virginia community suffering through the opiate crisis were informative, compassionate, and even-handed.

Hayes's title, A Colony in a Nation, comes from a convention speech by Richard Nixon in 1968. Then-candidate Nixon attempted to appeal to African Americans while also railing against government programs: "They don't want to be a colony in a nation."

By 2016, that appeal to white audiences sounded like this: "Hey, my African Americans. Vote for me. What the hell do you have to lose?" From their long and quotidian experience of in-justice within the Nation-Colony, they knew exactly what they had to lose.

Hayes writes, "In the Nation, there is law; in the Colony, there is only a concern with order. In the Nation, citizens call the police to protect them. In the Colony, subjects flee the police, who offer the opposite of protection. In the Nation, you have rights; in the Colony, you have commands. In the Nation, you are innocent until proven guilty; in the Colony you are born guilty."

Hayes's experience as an MSNBC journalist covering the police killing of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, the subsequent people's protests, and the police response were the impetus for the book. He uses Ferguson as a flashpoint opportunity to examine law...

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