The Art of the Possible
I'm probably more guilty than most of being intentionally ignorant of politics. Well, maybe ignorant is a strong word maybe replace "ignorant of" with "fed up with" and then replace "intentionally" with "eye-rollingly." And after that little Mad Libs game, lets just all go for a drink.
The other night, Rob (my husband) wanted to watch a little bit of the debates, mostly (I suspect), so that he could be on top of all the inevitable forthcoming SNL parodies. Or maybe he just thrives on stress. Who knows? Anyway, I tried. I really tried. But after five minutes of "blah blah blah... that's not accurate... blah blah trickle down... blah... MEXICO!...." I had to threaten to kick rob out of bed if he wanted to continue watching. Kindly, he turned the channel to something innocuous and boring so that I could drift peacefully off to sleep (football).
It's not that I don't want to be informed- I do! I care about shit. For realsies! But at some point after so much is said and not said and unsaid and "that's not what I" said, my rhetoric addled brain just wants to say, to quote The Bloggess, "NOPE." But then, I received this book from NetGalley (in exchange for an honest review) and I thought- hey maybe going back to the fundamentals of this nonsense will be refreshing. Or (dare I hope?) it will restore my faith in the political system. (Ever the optimist, me)
I found this book to be an approachable, if optimistic, overview of American politics. Keenan carefully breaks down many aspects of our political system into easily digestible bits that will give students a fairly practical understanding of the topic. The book begins with an outline of politics and government, and includes a nod to international individuals who have made a positive impact in their countries, despite being too young to vote. After providing instruction on the whys and whats of politics, Keenan spends several chapters making two very important points: the value of conflict and that of individual activism.
I think it is very important that the author makes such an effort to encourage children to become involved in politics. He makes the point that educating oneself is vital and offers several tips for kids who might not know where to begin. My big take away was that it is the responsibility of the individual to be educated on current political issues. Sure, it's a lot to take in. Like, a lot a lot- but you have to start somewhere. And if your starting point is a kids book on politics, then congrats! You're on your way. No one totally has a handle on it 24/7/365, and some are certainly better than others at combing through the rhetoric and gobbledygook, but that's no excuse to bury your head in the sand... as tempting as that is....
Keenan, E. (2015). The art of the possible: An everyday guide to politics. Owlkids Books: Toronto.