The Radical Declaration (Author Interview)

The Radical Declaration looks like an insightful book.  What can you tell us about it?

The Radical Declaration uses the Declaration of Independence through the landscape of American history to say that in addition to the country’s stated goals of liberty and equality, there has been the unstated third party, paradox.   Paradox instigates the tension between the ideals of liberty and equality. Never named, but imbued in the Declaration, paradox represents the distance between the perfection of the idea of pursuing liberty and equality as stated values and the imperfection associated with its execution.  Moreover, paradox began when the Founders deleted any commentary about the slave trade from the original draft of the Declaration, helping to create a scenario by committing to liberty and equality on paper, but subjective liberty and inequality in practice.

Did you write the book for a specific political side?

Not at all, America is pregnant with high and low moments with varying political parties serving as protagonist and malefactor. It shows the influence of paradox has had on the American narrative.

What inspired you when writing The Radical Declaration? 

That’s a great question! I was most inspired by those who would not accept what may have  been the Founders intent, in order to move the nation closer to its stated goals.  The unofficial intent of America’s founding was white male landowners.  When you think about it, not only did that disenfranchise women and people of color, but also a large portion of white males.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Radical Declaration?

The most pressing challenge was keeping my personal feelings at a minimum.  History is not how I might see it through my “enlightened 21st century lens, but staying in the moment.  The reader won’t benefit from the text if I’m attempting to opine on the efficacy of human bondage in the 19th century or the systematic denial of women voting.  My goal was to show how we got to the present moment.

You have an interesting background. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

In addition to being an author (The Radical Declaration is my fourth book) for 20 years I’ve written a political that places an emphasis on what I define is our “public morality.”  Public Morality, as I define it, is based on the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Emancipation Proclamation.  I host an NPR-affiliated broadcast also called the Public Morality.  It is a weekly conversation with leading thinkers to talk about the complexity of a given issue beyond what one might hear on cable television.  And I serve as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University teaching interdisciplinary courses ranging from divinity to journalism to U.S. history.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

I write weekly for the Winston Salem Journal.  I can also be found on Huffington Post. The podcast version of the Public Morality can be found on ITunes and Soundcloud.