Books — Homegrown Democrat
Homegrown Democrat, by Garrison Keillor, Viking, 2004, 238 pages.


By Lisa Parsons []

The 62-year-old host of NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” is nostalgic and angry in Homegrown Democrat. Much of this short, heartfelt book is vaguely autobiographical and the rest is 700 ways to say pitch in, do your part, and we’re all in this together—and damn the elitist, secretive Republicans in power for lacking common decency.

It’s not conservatism that bothers Keillor—what’s more conservative than Garrison “Lake Wobegon” Keillor clutching, cradling, the Bible-loving, hard-working Minnesota ethos of his youth, wanting us to keep it that way forever because it’s the best way, the proven way? It’s today’s Republicans in power that give him the willies.

“Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor,” Keillor says. And “Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s.”

Keillor dishes up principle and passion; this is Sunday school, not spreadsheets. Talk of budgets is surrounded with broad emotion: e.g., the wealth gap is “the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humankind has survived this.”

Lisa Parsons

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH