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'As If We Were Grownups'

Ashland resident Jeff Golden hosts The Jefferson Exchange — on Jefferson Public Radio. Every day he speaks with insightful guests — about the issues of our times, and the 2004 presidential race is no exception. —

His new book, "As If We Were Grownups: A Collection of — 'Suicidal' Political Speeches That Aren't," challenges the reader with — a question: What if presidential candidates spoke to the American public — as adults? This is the premise behind a series of hypothetical speeches — for a candidate to use on the way to the White House.

Each speech - ranging from topics such as higher gas taxes — to the legalization of drugs - is straightforward in its examination of — domestic issues that face the American public. The candidate explores — these issues in a way that takes responsibility for future generations. — He wants to create policies that will improve the standard of living over — the long term.

Golden's mythical candidate makes the stand for renewable — fuels, health care for all, and civil liberties. These values shape his — policy decisions and he his not afraid to speak about the unpopular sacrifices — that need to be made to accomplish such goals. His speeches are the beginning — of a discussion with the American people, a discussion that aims to find — truth without interference from special interests.

An example of this can be found in chapter three: "No — Amount is Too Much ?" In this speech Golden's candidate speaks to an audience — representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He tells them military spending — is too high, and points to the fact that America spends more money on — its military than the rest of the world combined. The drain of this money — from other social programs, the candidate reasons, has made America less — secure. He says that having a strong military does not have to cripple — domestic policies like health care that would give people a sense of safety — in their day-to-day lives.

Giving this "suicidal political speech" to an audience — that would disagree illustrates Golden's effort to discuss these issues. — His candidate aims to subvert the special interest of large organizations — to empower the people at large. He is a progressive idealist who questions — the direction of our country with depth. He does not say, "I have a plan — too ?" He says I have a plan too do this, and explains in detail the motives — behind his decisions. The decisions he makes are the beginning of a discussion — rather than a firm commitment. This candidate seems to want people to — tell him why they disagree so that a conversation into the matter can — continue. To help readers have their own debates Golden has included a — discussion guide at the end of his book.

"As If We Were Grownups" allows readers to walk through — the doors of perception. On one side there are the limits of politics — driven by 30-second commercials, special interest money, and politicians — that feel the need to flatter any potential voter. On the other side there — is democracy, and the hope of a better future. As each speech ventures — into the gray where most Americans are only used to hearing black and — white, the reader is left with another question. Would America vote for — a candidate that spoke openly? Or are the pollsters right in forcing candidates — to give finely groomed statements that maintain the status quo of their — respected parties?

For more information about the Golden's book visit

www.asifweweregrownups.org.