While the stand had a few non-partisan books on voting and three very token conservative books, one on Sarah Palin’s rise to governor, as well as Obama Nation and Fleeced—which it probably included to cast Republicans as unsavory nuts—it by and large promoted the Democrats and Obama. Here are a few more examples of books: Say It Like Obama: The Power of Speaking with Purpose and Vision; The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule; Homopolitics; Promises to Keep (by Joe Biden); Utter Incompetence: Ego and Ideology in the Age of Bush; Know Your Power (by Nanci Pelosi); What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception; Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Promise to Renew America’s Promise; Obama: From Promise to Power; the Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father (both memoirs by Obama). The words “promise” and “power” seem to be a prominent theme in the titles, perhaps suggestive of how Democrats like to control and promise a lot of things.
If you didn’t count: that’s 14 books for the Democrats and 3 for the Republicans. Now, we would expect this propagandizing from, say, a certain liberal professor in the chemistry department, but not from our beloved bookstore that furnishes us with overpriced holiday gifts and textbooks. After all of these years we have trusted the bookstore to give us an honest deal, we find that the bookstore really does have an agenda, and it’s not just to rip off students.
When I asked a bookstore information attendant if they carried John McCain’s memoir, she looked at me a bit puzzled and asked, “Is that Sins of my Father?” I get it: John McCain writes sins and Obama writes dreams. After finding the correct title Faith of My Fathers on the computer catalog, she was able to point me to the book, which lay on the bottom shelf in Military History. When I asked her why it wasn’t with the other books on the political candidates and election, she said it might be because it wasn’t recent.
Faith of my Fathers was published early in 2008. Obama’s book Dreams from My Father was published in 1995. But I didn’t feel like getting into a debate with an amicable enough woman who had obviously never considered how the bookstore selected or presented its books. Never mind asking her about the location of McCain’s other four books: Character is Destiny, Worth the Fighting For, Why Courage Matters, and Hard Call. Perhaps those were all clumped in a section in the back of the store entitled: Stanford Students Need Not Read.
I first noticed the bookstore’s liberally biased selection last winter when Ron Paul’s manifesto became a New York Times bestseller and was not located up front with the other New York Times bestsellers. Maybe it was just too revolutionary, just as McCain’s memoir was a bit too conservative. Who knew that the bookstore would engage in a game of information suppression? It seems a little red to me, but after all, most things in the store are colored cardinal.