Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The Overton Window by Glenn Beck
The Overton Window is the story of Noah Gardner, the privileged son of an advertising agency giant, who becomes aware, finally, that there are more momentous things going on in the world around him than his amusements and sexual conquests. One day at work at his father's business, he notices an intern, Molly Ross, posting an announcement about a political meeting held by an organization that is part of the Tea Party movement. Suddenly smitten by her obvious physical charms, he attempts to charm her, and when that doesn't work, decides to attend the meeting, to try and get to know her better, probably for the purpose of seducing her, but it soon turns into more of an obsession than mere lust.
At approximately the same time, Noah attends the first part of a meeting with a group of government agents who are concerned that a secret memo published by their department, planning for a Homeland Security emergency, and which will violate some groups' civil rights, has become public. Noah's father, Arthur, presents them with a plan to discredit the memo, and to further advance a progressive agenda that has been slowly encroaching on civil liberties in the U.S. for decades.
Noah attends the patriots' meeting later that evening, and is present when a group of provocateurs start trouble there, and the New York police immediately break up the meeting and throw most of the participants into jail. Noah's father's lawyer is able to get Noah released, but in an inexplicable streak of altruism, Noah convinces his lawyer that the whole bust was a setup from the beginning and the lawyer manages to get the rest of the detainees released, as well.
The Overton window of the title turns out later on in the story to refer to a method of visualizing the changes introduced over time to the canon of acceptable political dialogue in this country. For example, it would have been inconceivable twenty years ago that people would submit to full body scans and patdowns by TSA agents in order to fly anywhere in this country, but as incremental security measure changes have been slowly added, each necessitated by some perceived threat or crisis, we have now come to accept those practices, for the most part. The same thing applies to no-knock warrants, national security letters, and the propagation of SWAT teams in police departments all over the country.
Beck doesn't definitely attribute all of this to some vast progressive conspiracy, exactly, but fits it into the framework of a progressive agenda worldwide which acts upon the assumption that the elite, whether political or economic, are the only people who are capable of "ruling", and have stealthily taken over our government, through the process of corrupting our elected officials.
In a scenario reminiscent of Rahm Emmanuel's quote, "never let a crisis go to waste", Arthur Gardner and his fellow progressive manipulators have set into motion a plot that will incriminate the Tea Party types in an attack using an atomic bomb on an American City. When it comes to fruition, it will result in the arrest and internment of huge numbers of people deemed subversive by the Department of Homeland Security. The "thriller" portion of the novel is the tale of how some of Molly's friends and Noah discover the plot and attempt to thwart it.
There are vast swaths of this book that are pure Founding Fathers political writings, proclaimed and discussed by Molly and her fellow travelers, and a ton of facts and events ripped from recent headlines that make this novel not as far-fetched as it might seem at first. There's a wealth of references and additional information included in the back of the book, and Beck makes no bones about the fact that he intends this novel to be a wake up call for its readers, and to get them thinking about where this country is headed.
As far as thrillers go, the story wasn't all that tense, but it's certainly a thought-provoking read.