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Member of the Week: Amanda Read (Coalitions Director, Convention of States Project)

by Bradley Matthews

Amanda Read

Congratulations Amanda on being our Conservative Book Club “Member of the Week!” We appreciate you writing book reviews for the site!  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

What got you interested in politics?  

As a homeschooled military child who lived abroad, self-governance and civic matters came naturally. The liberty to take charge of our own educations has always been important to me. My parents are politically savvy, and being raised unconventionally as the eldest of 9 children, daily conversation is animated and nothing is taboo. I became politically aware as a 10-year-old witnessing the hotly contested 2000 presidential election. Then 9/11 happened, and covering political news became a habit in a little e-newsletter I created and distributed. My passion came to be historical explanations for current events, and telling these stories in artistic ways, such as narrative non-fiction or historical drama screenwriting. At Troy University, I majored in History and minored in Political Science (I considered a minor in Drama, but found politics has a satisfactory amount of drama).

In one book project of mine discussed at www.TheCrusadingChemist.com, Im examining Americas morph into federal bureaucracy at the turn of the last century through the life story of USDA Chief Chemist Harvey Wiley (1844-1930), who experienced head-on cronyism and politically correct science while attempting food and drug regulation. I began researching this subject as a teen, and I find it more relevant by the day as we assess what should be the purview of federal government, and what should not.

After routinely blogging during and following the 2008 presidential election, my friend Brent Heard recommended me to new media editor and entrepreneur Jacquie Kubin, and my column writing took off from there. Youll find my work at a variety of outlets, including a venture into radio at the History Author Show, which can be found on iHeartRadio, iTunes, and more. Conservative Book Club members will love it!

 

You’re the Coalitions Director for the Convention of States Project.  Tell us about this.

To be exact, Ive worked as Coalitions Director (now Media Liaison) for Convention of States Project Alabama, encouraging organizations to support the passage of a resolution in the Alabama State legislature calling for an Article V Convention of States in order to amend the Constitution with further restraints on the federal government. Two-thirds of the states (34 states) have to present matching resolutions to Congress in order to officially call for an amending convention, at which statesdelegates debate and vote upon amendments that then must be ratified by legislatures of three-fourths of the states (38 states) in order to become part of the Constitution. You can see here a brief informative video on the process.

Last year our resolution finally passed the Alabama House and Senate, and Alabama became the 4th state to call for a Convention of States. There is now a total of seven states on board: Georgia, Alaska, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, and Oklahoma. I think COS serves as an important reminder that conservative governing philosophy is about more than, say, just the presidency. We need to be active at all levels of government. I recently became a 2016 James Madison Fellow, and look forward to teaching high school students about the U.S. Constitution so they will be well-equipped citizens.

 

What books, authors, or conservative-themed books, influenced your political philosophy and outlook on life?     

I credit Laura Ingalls Wilder with shaping my literary outlook on life, because her books helped me see daily life as a story. Rush Limbaugh was a familiar insightful voice ever since I can remember, and the wit and verve of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin kept me in journalism. The writings of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson (much literature from the Founding generation, really), C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, George Orwell, Jane Austen, Wilhelm Röpke, John Lennox, Larry Alex Taunton, Jay L. Wile, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, and Laura Hillenbrand have all inspired my thought on issues of the heart, mind, history, science, art, and government.

 

Tell us a little more about yourself! 

 

  • Favorite Movie: Ben-Hur, because its the quintessential epic, featuring an intense personal narrative set within and paralleling a larger Providential theme in history (in this case, the sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ). Plus, 3 hours and 44 minutes of Charlton Heston and horses.
  • Favorite TV Show: Im still catching up on TV shows. Besides glimpsing TV Land oldies, a good deal of my free time was spent doing things like raising chickens and reading Platos Republic. Im currently enjoying The West Wing. Good dialogue makes for good discourse, and Aaron Sorkin is the master.
  • Favorite Band: Im so eclectic with music, favoring individual songs rather than entire bands or artists or albums. A band whose many songs Ive listened to routinely is Blackmores Night, which might be called a Renaissance folk rock band. My growing up breathing Middle Earth, Narnia, and the Life of Leonardo da Vinci (yes, this miniseries exists and was a favorite of mine at age 8I should watch it in Italian next) probably has something to do with that.
  • Favorite Food/Drink: I could probably eat spaghetti with a Mediterranean salad everyday. Alexander Pope jested, coffee makes the politicians wise when he observed how consumption of the beverage was affecting governing habits. To me, coffee is definitely one of Gods gifts.
  • Where do you get your news from primarily? News sources have been sources of frustration lately. It appears that whenever new media consumers dont like the news theyre getting, they decide to create another dime a dozen click bait website, which always ends up headlining in my social media newsfeed, which then sends me on a time-gobbling, fact-checking search for primary sources. I never trust one news outlet, but skim the major outlets across the spectrum (checking Drudge Report for whats breaking) and then look for local reports and others closest to the original source to figure out what is actually happening. We need higher standards of accountability in media.
  • If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be? Such a tough question! Since Im writing his biography, I think it would be most beneficial for me to meet and interview Harvey Wiley.
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Id love to go to Israel and England for particular research interests. The former for things pertaining to Biblical archaeology, and the latter to scope out Cambridge and Isaac Newtons old estate, Woolsthorpe.
  • What do you do for fun? Thankfully, I find historical research fun. I could spend hours sifting through old newspaper and letter archives. Aside from that, I especially enjoy calligraphy, handwriting letters, drawing, painting, horseback riding, bike riding, swimming, playing sports and target shooting with my siblings, wandering the countryside thinking up new ideassimply being away from my new media devices, I suppose (unless listening to audio books is feasible). But I can get addicted to word game apps and the likeRuzzle and Two Dots, anyone?

 

 

Why did you join the Conservative Book Club? How is the user experience beneficial to you? 

After a few years of reporting and opinion writing, I enjoy the company of literature lovers who dont demand articles cater to a 4th grade level. I like that CBC gives us the opportunity to hold authors in our field to a high standard, and provoke critical thought among readership.

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