You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published March 31, 2020
About You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People
America is the greatest democracy in the world . . . isn’t it? Author Elizabeth Rusch examines some of the more problematic aspects of our government but, more importantly, offers ways for young people to fix them.
The political landscape has never been so tumultuous: issues with the electoral college, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and a lack of representation in the polls and in our leadership have led to Americans of all ages asking, How did we get here?
The power to change lies with the citizens of this great country—especially teens! Rather than pointing fingers at people and political parties, YOU CALL THIS DEMOCRACY? looks at flaws in the system—and offers a real way out of the mess we are in. Each chapter breaks down a different problem plaguing American democracy, exploring how it’s undemocratic, offering possible solutions (with examples of real-life teens who have already started working toward them), and suggesting ways to effect change—starting NOW!
I’ve had this book for months, but finally committed to read it the week after the RNC, so I was a bit overwhelmed at that point. I dreaded reading a book that raged about wrongs in the American political system but would leave me feeling helpless to do anything about those issues.
Fortunately, that is NOT what this book does!
One of my favorite things about YOU CALL THIS DEMOCRACY? is the way the author methodically lays out a problem. Why do we do things this way? Who does it hurt? What are some possible solutions, and how could those be enacted? It’s clear and easy to follow. There were a couple issues I wasn’t on board with or at all informed about before picking up this book (lowering the voting age to 16 or 17 being one) where the author made some really great points and explained things so well that now I’m not sure what I think about that issue. I feel like I may have changed my mind, and I certainly want to know more.
The best part of all, though, is that at the end of each chapter, there are sections detailing how to participate in changing the way the government operates. Like procedural, legal, ways to work within the system to actually change things. There are also resources for how to find out what the current laws in your state are and how to join an effort to make changes.
The issues laid out in the book are non-partisan ones. It’s things like gerrymandering. Bringing more transparency to who is funding political campaigns. Stuff that a majority of Americans are in favor of in both major parties. So I liked that, too– it was a break from the demonizing that often feels unavoidable in American political discourse right now.
I love how solutions-focused and how positive the book is. I absolutely recommend this book for anyone who’s looking for ways to participate in making America have a stronger, more representative democracy, no matter your party affiliation. This book has so many great ideas. I highlighted tons of quotes and resources that I really want to go back through and read.
If you are looking for a political book that will leave you encouraged and energized about how to strengthen American democracy, definitely pick up a copy of this one! I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed reading it.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Refers to all Americans.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Note: I received a free copy of YOU CALL THIS DEMOCRACY in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.