Not on My Watch

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Elizabeth Johnston, a.k.a. "The Activist Mommy," isn't going to sit idly by while her country goes down the path of leftist indoctrination, homosexual activism, transgender normalization, and expansion of abortion.  This conservative, home-schooling mother of ten has made a name for herself on social media by rallying support for the Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, for burning Teen Vogue after they published obscene material, and for her criticism of Target's bathroom policy.

In her new book Not On My Watch: How to Win the Fight for Family, Faith, and Freedom, she tells stories of her activism and challenges all of us not to ignore the erosion of our values.  She doesn't have a lot of patience for passive, inactive Christians.  "The Left has been advancing and claiming more territory while we have attended church and been content to wait for Jesus to come back."  And she's not content with political activism alone, either.  She points out that many of the Supreme Court decisions conservatives rail against, like Roe v. Wade, were decided by Republican-appointed justices.  

One big obstacle that conservatives need to overcome in order to become more effective in their activism is a passive, milquetoast version of Jesus' example that abhors confrontation.  When it comes to protecting children, whether unborn or subject to indoctrination and corruption by the culture, aggression and anger are acceptable responses.  "Love protects the innocent, even if we look angry in the process."

If you are a political conservative, a Christian conservative, or a parent concerned about the growth of liberal culture in the U.S., you'l be challenged by Johnston's perspective.  She won't be silent.  Will I?  Will you?

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
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Not a book for me I don't even know how to explain I feel like the girl on the cover is saying stop don't open its not worth it!
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I'm increasingly saddened by the discourse of hatred that seems to be pervading our society. Neighbours are so divided over personal beliefs that instead of trying to understand the perspective of others, they spew hateful words and turn their backs on each other. 

I want so badly to understand where and how things went so wrong to land us where we are now. I requested this book knowing that it was authored by a woman with a very different perspective and set of opinions and values from my own, because I hoped that reading her words would help me to understand and learn.

Unfortunately, this book does not shed any light on how we might move back toward a place of unity. This book is little more than a call for more hatred, an encouragement to fight more, and a refusal to even consider the idea of withholding judgement against anyone who does not line up with her very narrow ideas of what Christianity means. This book just made me much sadder, and I really feel sorry for a woman who believes that her God wants her to be so hateful and prideful.

Although this book was less-than-useful for my purposes, it did provide me with an unintended lesson on how alternative facts are born. The opening chapters of the book at least attempt to provide some citations for the facts and opinions she shares. But by the mid-point of the book, the author gave up on references altogether, simply shoving uncited facts and statistics in all over the place. I'm not sure that the lack of references is a wholly bad thing (for her), since the references I checked at the beginning of the book actually disprove the theories she was promoting, once you dig down to the full source material (something the author clearly did not do).

My suspicions that things might not be quite right started with her claim that "...overpopulation is a myth. The truth is that every family on this planet could have a piece of land about the size of Texas."  Well huh. That's a real humdinger of a claim. I don't really have a pony in the overpopulation race, but that sure sounded incredible to me and boy-howdy wouldn't I love to have a piece of land that size! Her next line *does* soften that claim by saying that even a more conservative approach would leave every person on earth with at least an acre or two. 

Following her citation -- a link to a question answered on that somewhat supports her claim -- I then went further by following the sources used to answer the question and learned that it's actually true! Each person *could* have a piece of land that is about 2.3 acres. But not if that person wants to live a typical North American lifestyle (you know, with roads, utilities, consumer goods, varied diets -- all that fun stuff). For that you would need 23 acres per person -- a number that would require 9 more planet Earths to support current population levels.

I do hope that this book has a thorough editing before it goes to press, but I suspect there will be little or no fact-checking done, because that would require the author to rewrite several rather large sections of this book. It's a real shame. This author has a real following, and I would have loved to have seen some real truth to her claims. Unfortunately, she does not provide anything beyond her say-so that things are true.

I leave you with this my friends: if you have not already done so, please vote. Please vote with your eyes open (don't believe everything you read and hear on first glance -- do your own research) and vote with your heart. We may not agree on politics, all of us, but make sure your voice is heard. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Worthy Publishing for providing me with a DRC of this book.
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While the official summary of the book is succinct and clear, I did not find the actual book to be so which makes this review hard.

She begins with a whole chapter about her love of Kim Davis, a woman jailed for violating court orders to resume issuing marriage licenses in line with the American Constitution, and it kind of goes down hill from there. She actually very rarely gives specific advice on how to win debates or advance political agendas, the bulk of the book is dedicated to summarizing her "accomplishments". This translate significantly to talking about the number of views her videos get, citing favorable article titles written about her and comments from her Facebook page that praise her. There is literally an ENTIRE chapter that is just a series of emails exchanged between her and a person she supposedly converted to heterosexuality through email. (This book is littered with anecdotes that strain credulity, but none more so than this and when she said she got a grocery store manager to tear up six copies of Teen Vogue on the spot). 

Even if you really want to understand where she is coming from (a benefit she never offers me, as a person she frequently describes in her book as a evil satanic mind raper of children) you have to deeply rely on imagination because her writing is so shallow. There is very little of her in this book (despite its premise, and her fame, allegedly being built on a cult of personality). Just like so much of her book is directly copied from her Facebook page, her email and favorable articles even her most “personal” opinions feel just as copied. 

It wasn't until I got to the tenth and penultimate chapter of her book that this writing style began to make sense to me. The only meaningful advice she has to give is to be like her: be angry and be uncompromising in your extremism. 

And it is the hints into the depths of her extremism, easily missed in her short Facebook posts but on full display as she struggles to fill the pages of a book, that are the most gripping and concerning. From the beginning of the book she makes the truly radical argument that the Constitution largely does not apply to the states, that no part of the Bill of Rights is incorporated against the states and that the right of judicial review does not exist. To her this justifies arguing that Muslims should be barred from public service on the basis of their religion, that public schools should teach Christianity (using the Bible as a textbook natch) and that Islam is evil using taxpayer money, that the editors of Teen Vogue should be arrested and jailed on obscenity charges, that the staff of Planned Parenthood should be arrested and imprisoned on murder charges, and that it should be illegal to have anal or oral sex with another adult (of any gender) in your own home. Oh, and at one point (after arguing how feminists actually demean women) she tells her female readers that "our wombs are weapons".

I wish these were exaggerations. 

I think this book fails to achieve its stated purpose, to arm conservatives with the tools, techniques and resources they need to win the culture war, because of its shallow and unstructured writing (the only author she reminds me of Sylvia Browne tbh). I think it is only useful in revealing the mindset and goals (literal christian supremacy and theocracy) of some right wing activists.

I honestly can't think of anyone I could recommend this book to because its clear from her Facebook page that even her most ardent supporters don't even read the short articles she writes. Even if this stuff is 100% your jam, there has to be people who do it better.
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Don't mess with the Mama Bear!  This book resonated with me, not because I agreed with everything the author said (I didn't), but because I agreed with her intentions and sentiment.  In this rapidly-changing world, we need to stand up for what we believe in, protect our children, and try to eliminate some of the ludicrousness that is trickling down.  What that looks like might be a little different for each family, but the author inspires us to take action, to quit turning the other cheek, and to remember that it's all of the future generations we are protecting at the same time.  There were a couple of scientific claims made partway through the book that didn't appear to have any citations to back them up, and had me wondering how accurate they were, and this is why I am removing a star.
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