Craig Wieland never set out to write a book of poetry. “I’m a contractor,” he said with a chuckle. But what began as family dinner-table conversations to help his daughters understand social issues in America have culminated in a book of poems and cartoons about conservative ideas.
Wieland, the owner of a nationwide construction contracting company, proved you don’t need a writer’s background or even a college degree to communicate your beliefs. Wieland said he catered to his daughters’ love for Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein by putting stories poetic form.
“If you put it in a rhyme and use poetry, all of a sudden it becomes unique,” Wieland said in a telephone interview with the Culture and Media Institute about his new book, “Pointed Poems: Tools for Teaching Conservative Thinking.”
In the book, Wieland combines poetry and cartoon-like illustrations to convey the differences between conservative and liberal viewpoints on both economic and social issues in America. The book’s 280 pages touch on everything from industry to patriotism to taxes and incorporate over 400 graphic illustrations by Dennis Preston to “give the poetry a little more punch.”
“Pointed Poems,” which Wieland described as “unique,” and “fairly provocative,” discusses social issues, such as compassion, the role that personal responsibility plays in government and the problem of social programs that “help” parents raise their children.
Wieland said his main message is only hinted at subtly in the book. Wieland hopes his poems show readers “the hypocritical stance that people have of criticizing the very things that they’re using.” For instance, in the poem, “Just Give Us the Outlet… and Nothing More,” protesters of electric generation prevent the construction of a new power plant but soon show their dissatisfaction in the following lines:
“So that’s what happened to our little city.
The planned power plant was not built… what a pity.
But people got mad when their outlets grew quiet.
And when it got hot, they started to riot.”
By exposing this hypocrisy, Wieland further hopes to knock liberals off their assumed “moral high ground” on issues like green energy and limited government—topics which liberals use to push their agenda as the “correct” viewpoint.
To help conservatives understand the differences between the conservative and liberal viewpoints on a variety of issues, each chapter begins with a brief explanation of the poem and issue, followed by the poem itself and illustrations. Wieland also highlights the “Teaching Tool” for each chapter, a single summary statement of the issue.
Following the “Teaching Tool,” each poem starts with a cartoon of a father and son carrying a conversation about politics and American values. The father responds to the son’s questions by giving simple answers that reflect conservative thinking. This father-son exchange further strengthens its use as a tool for teaching conservative values to middle-of-the-road adults as well as the next generation of Americans—children and grandchildren.