Four years. It’s been four years since I started this blog (I totally missed my blogaversary in October. Whoops.) It’s also been four years since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. And, on Tuesday, he’ll find out if he’s going to be President for another four years. Whatever your particular political persuasion, I hope those of you 18 and older take the time to vote on Tuesday. Voting is one of the fundamental privileges of being an American and besides, if you don’t vote, then you don’t get to complain about who won, who lost, and why the country’s going to hell in a hand-basket.
Since voting takes about five minutes and election day is loooooong (chances are good it will actually be Wednesday before the election is officially decided), you’ll need something to keep you occupied while watching state returns and trying to figure out just how the electoral college works (don’t ask me – I have no clue). So here are some suggestions for how you can “Read the Vote:”
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to American Government – why not start at the top? Since time travel has not yet been perfected so you can go back to 10th grade U.S. history, pick up any of the “complete” guides to American government. Sure, you could read The Declaration of Independence, Alexander Hamilton’s The Federalist Papers and other primary sources. But those won’t have fun little boxes with nifty facts and sections such as “The Buck Stops Here” (that’s the POTUS, by the way.)
- America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction – Jon Steward. The writers of The Daily Show. Naked Supreme Court justices. Do you really need any more reasons? Okay, well how about a whole chapter on Congress (a “quagmire of freedom”) which doesn’t actually describe what Congress does and a thoughtfully added chapter dedicated to the rest of the world? Plus, Samantha Bee not-so-helpfully injects from time to time with notes about how things are done in Canada, that delightful sort-of-like-us country to the north.
- I Am America (And So Can You!) – In the interest of keeping things fair and balance (since Jon Stewart is clearly an evil liberal heathen), read Stephen Colbert’s book for another perspective. You’ll be 25% more patriotic just by opening the cover! (It says so right on the cover.) You’ll also learn why your opinions are wrong and Colbert’s are correct, so it’s a learning opportunity as well.
- In The President’s Secret Service – Forget the guys who got elected. The ones with all the real dirt are the ones in dark sunglasses carrying a concealed weapon. Culled from hours of interviews with retired Secret Service agents, this behind-the-scenes look at the Presidency gives readers tons of salacious gossip about the various residents of the White House and why it doesn’t matter if you like the guy or not – you still protect him. (It’s the office, not the office-holder.)
I can’t guarantee that you’ll actually learn anything of substantial value from these suggestions, but you’ll have a lot of fun in the process and that’s really what reading is all about. (Just don’t go running for any elected office based on the advice found in these books – you might actually win and then you’ll have to explain what you really meant.)
And remember – vote on Tuesday!