Author Jackie Gingrich Cushman travels to Houma for book tour

Player of the Week – Doniver Harris
October 31, 2019
SLMA to host free information and discussion session
October 31, 2019
Player of the Week – Doniver Harris
October 31, 2019
SLMA to host free information and discussion session
October 31, 2019

Author and nationally syndicated columnist Jackie Gingrich Cushman visited Houma on Tuesday to promote her new book, “Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening.”

Guests who attended her book signing at Ellendale Country Club Tuesday night asked Cushman questions during an open Q&A.

During the session, questions led Cushman to touch on a few topics in her book, including the current political divide, religion and finding a common ground, among other subjects.

Event-goers received free copies of the book, which Cushman each signed with a personal dedication, following the Q&A.

‘Our Broken America’

The political polarization in the United States is arguably at its highest point since the Civil War – which Cushman said research shows that 31 percent of Americans believe can happen again in present day.

That polarization led Cushman to write “Our Broken America.”

“I just got very concerned about how polarized we are today and how we talk to each other as opposed to with each other,” Cushman told the Times on why she decided to write the book.

Cushman’s two children are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, she said, which was another contributing factor in her writing.

While researching for the book, Cushman aimed to find why America is so polarized, what the future looks like for the younger generation and a way both sides can work together, she said.

With 24 pages of footnotes, Cushman did extensive research for her topics.

“One of the things I learned in my research was that 64 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans have few or no friends in the opposite party,” Cushman said. “If you think of it from that perspective, it makes me understand why we’re so polarized. If someone doesn’t know someone from the opposite party and they hear all these things on TV about how terrible they are, why wouldn’t they think they were terrible?”

No one party, Republican or Democratic, is solely to blame for the polarization, Cushman said, even though both sides like the blame the other. Research shows that both parties harshly prejudge people from the other party before they meet them, she said.

Social media exacerbates the divide, too, Cushman said. “I do think [social media] creates two things: one, this unrealistic view of what life could be, and then secondarily, this ability to react rapidly without having any kind of interpersonal contact. People are less likely to be nasty if they have to actually talk to people.”

So, how do we find the common ground?

Cushman believes joining a charitable cause is one answer. Being involved with four nonprofits, she finds when people come together for a cause, no matter what political party or way of life, they work together to make a difference.

“If you find something you care about and you’re willing to work with anyone else who cares about that issue, then you can begin to make progress on it…and begin to make relationships with people from the opposite side,” she said.

“Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening” is the third book by Cushman. Her previously published works include “5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours” and “The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own.” All three books are available for purchase here.  

Cushman applies for Senate seat

Cushman recently applied for a Georgia Senate seat. The soon-to-be vacancy needs filled by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp before U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson officially retires on Dec. 31.

Although it is not an election, Cushman, the daughter of the 50th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, has experience when it comes to trying to attain a political seat. She was a senior adviser for her father’s 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

“In the book I talk about being grateful that I live in this country and how people shouldn’t complain unless they want to get involved with the solution…I thought if I’m going to say that, I really need to put my name in,” Cushman said on why she applied. “I can’t sit back and talk about what somebody else should do if I’m not willing to actually do it myself.”