Reading With Stef: Using Books as Political Armor

By: Stefanie Baptista

Opinion Editor

During a time of ongoing civil unrest and unfounded attacks on science and facts that offset personal agendas, the absurd politicizing of a virus that has killed more citizens in America than any other country in the world (wear a damn mask, it’s not unconstitutional; it’s well within your rights to wear a strip of fabric over your mouth like it is to wear one across your chest), a “president” that does anything but work to bring Americans together, and so much more, it can be hard to see anything else clearly. But we do have an election coming up (a mere five days from the time that I am writing this), and we have the ability to vote for change. Let’s all do our part so we can make the best possible decision, not only for ourselves but for the generations to come. I can only hope that the decision of who has been made abundantly clear to you by now.

I think something that is also part of being an informed, upstanding citizen, besides following the news and trying our best to make sense of what’s going on in our political sector, is doing our own reading and researching, learning how our democracy and America actually works. For example, knowing what the Senate and House of Representatives actually do. Reviewing the amendments so false statements like, “it’s against my rights to wear a mask,” don’t garner as much support and attention as they do. (News flash: wearing a mask does in no way, shape, or form infringe upon your rights.) It’s also just important to know things, like the fact that Alabama was the last state to life its ban on interracial marriage, but it didn’t happen until the year 2000. Yup, 2000. A mere twenty years ago.

Where have I been getting all of this new information, you ask? Ah, this little book called, A User’s Guide to Democracy: How America Works by Nick Capodice and Hannah McCarthy. I recently read this book and I was floored. Both at what I didn’t know and was learning, but also what I had forgotten I knew. I learned more than what I was reminded of. Admitting that none of us know everything about the way America works is the first step into learning about it (I know a lot of us like to act like we know more than we do, even our president does!)

This book is both accessible and chock-full of information that is useful to anyone and everyone living here in the United States and I cannot recommend it enough. It has inspired me to take more action and has made me feel more comfortable and confident when discussing politics. Actually knowing what you’re talking about is important! We can’t just say things without any basis of knowledge, contrary to the tactics of many of our political broadcasters and politicians in office right now. 

Anyway, what I’m saying here is: read this book. You’ll thank me later when you’re discussing the election at your Thanksgiving dinner table and your uncle says that a president Biden constitutionally can’t expand the court, and you respond with, “Actually, nowhere in the constitution does it say we need to have exactly nine justices. As a matter of fact, when the SCOTUS was first formed, there were six justices and that number has changed many times since.” Boom, roasted.

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