What Writing This Book Meant To Me

We did it. Rebuild the Dream is now officially a New York Times Best Seller. We will debut at #15 in Hardcover Nonfiction on the April 22nd list and start hitting more bookshelves across the country to spread our message. Writing this book has been an intimate endeavor for me, giving me a chance to reflect on the journey from Oakland to the White House and back. A LONG WALK BACK This book push has made me feel better than I have since I left Oakland to go to the White House three years ago. The worst thing about going through the kind of train crash that I suffered is losing your own voice. Not physically, like I did last week while doing non-stop TV and radio interviews, but politically and even spiritually. In a big national media meltdown, everyone is forced to relate primarily to the caricature you have become – either to attack it or defend it. In such situations, your true personhood is displaced, subordinated, misunderstood – even among your allies. You become a symbol, a talking point, a target, a martyr, a victim, a hero – but no longer just “yourself,” at least not in the way you have come to understand that self. For awhile, whoever “I” was, became unknowable and was lost not just to the media but even to myself. VOICE REGAINED At first, I thought of this book as a step in the process of getting back on my feet. I figured I could put some smart ideas out there and try to use my notoriety to have the discussion that I wanted to have. As such, I had intended for this book to be a fairly dispassionate treatise on the state of modern politics. Instead, writing this book became a very personal journey for me. It was a gift to have the time to review my life and my work, connect some dots, pull out some lessons, begin to make sense of it all. I thought about my father and tried to come to peace with his death. Along the way, I found my voice again. It feels really good to be back. A WIN FOR OUR ORGANIZATION I want to thank everyone who supported this book for always being there for me. None of this would have been possible without the support of countless groups and members of the Rebuild the Dream community. Some of my friends and family were worried that the right-wing would go on the warpath and derail our efforts. Indeed, the same old people dredged up the same old talking points on hate radio and on the extremist blogs, but the mainstream media ignored them. This time, the fear-mongers’ message faded, and it was our positive message that took off. The momentum from the book has put wind into the sails of our organization, Rebuild the Dream, especially our two primary campaigns: one to cut student debt and another to fix underwater mortgages. We’ve shown what a small group of dedicated people can do. I am looking forward to the next chapter of struggle and celebration together.

- Van

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