Rachel Maddow spoke to a sold out crowd on a warm, sunny day, at the Arlington Theater on October 7. Her appearance was presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures.
The outspoken, Liberal talk show host of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show presented a lively discussion on the current political climate and on her best selling book, "Drift".
After Maddow walked on stage and when the applause settled down she said, "Wow I can't believe there is a sold out crowd here to hear me, in a beach town, when it's 85 degrees outside!" She seemed genuinely surprised and a bit overwhelmed by the filled to capacity theater.
The fist hour of the event began with Maddow speaking about "Drift" in which she argues that in the last 50 years or so the decision to go to war has seemingly been "too easy". She describes how American declarations of war have increasingly shifted from being Congressionally approved to being centralized in the hands of the President. The book spans from the Vietnam War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She says that going to war is gradually becoming more secretive and less democratic contrary to how our founding fathers intended the decision to go to war to be.
She basically argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation oddly "comfortable" with constant war, including all the financial and human costs that involves. She presents an argument to determine how we have as a country arrived at such a place.
Most Americans are shielded by the horrors of war because only a small part of Americans send their children into battle zones. She asserts that we don't really act like a people at war like we did in WWII or the Vietnam War. There seemed to be a more intense sense of unity during those wars. Interesting thing to think about.
The book touches on things that we all can agree on whether one is a Democrat or a Republican. Roger Ailes, president of Fox News says this about Drift on it's back cover, "People who like Rachel will love the book. People who don’t will get angry, but aggressive debate is good for America. Drift is a book worth reading."
Maddow also is critical of contractors who are involved in our wars and dedicated her book to Dick Cheney.
The second part of her 2 hour talk was to answer pre-written questions from the audience as well as to talk about the political climate in America like she does on her tv show. She airs on MSNBC at the same time that Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly, her contrasting hosts on Fox News air. One interesting question that was asked was whether she would ever consider running for public office. She said, definitely not… she likes her current job too much.
She then turned the question around and directed the same question back to the audience. "If you like the things I am talking about, maybe you should consider running for public office." She talked about social issues such as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Romney vs Obama etc… the usual things MSNBC and Fox discuss. Nothing new there.
Overall her talk was lively, sometimes serious, yet light and witty. She has a good energy about her and she can talk about serious matters in a lively and intelligent way. She earned a PhD in politics from Oxford University and it certainly showed. She's a likable person and her views were obviously liberal. At one point she said, I am a liberal but that certainly doesn't mean I don't cite facts to back up what I say. I just have a different opinion that conservatives on what can work for this country. I think we need to be reminded of that more. It's not bad to be a liberal or conservative as MSNBC or Fox would want you to believe. Each side has a differing philosophy that's all.
One thing I noticed that was that it was advertised that autographed copies of her book were available in the lobby after the talk. There were books but none were autographed so I am sure people were slightly disappointed by that.
I enjoyed her talk and from the conversations outside the theater I think most people did as well. I think everyone who attended Maddow's show in this beach town in 85 degree weather decided it was worth it to skip the beach on this afternoon.