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During this very tumultuous time, you would think I’d spend more time reading…or even blogging…but no. Instead, I’ve been far too happy to play Stardew Valley and Minecraft instead of doing the very important work of getting through my TBR pile.
But it’s time for that to change… if only so I can feel productive in at least one aspect of my life right now.
So what am I currently reading?
The way in which politics function has always been of interest to me, but I hit a point in which knowing what was happening in politics became vital to my existence. For a while, my existence was safe thanks to the development of DACA from the Obama administration. And then came the upheaval that was the Trump administration. My junior and senior years in college were the most emotionally trying years of my life, not only because of the emotional baggage of college activities and rituals but also because my legal status was being targeted.
It was during that time that I also saw how states were taking actions to address concerns that DACA people had, like having access to in-state tuition and more scholarships, and being able to take bar exams and practice law.
When I saw the title of this book, “All Politics is Local: why progressives must fight for the states”, its subtitle is what really drew me in. The mention of “fight for the states” reminded me of all the state actions that I saw regarding DACA back when I was in college. In recent times, it brought to mind the fights regarding gun control, abortion and birth control, voting rights, and so much more. I figured it was a good shot to learn about stuff I might’ve missed while focusing on my studies, and maybe issues that had occurred while I was much younger.
I am officially done with the book but I was right. I’ve learned so much about how organizations partner together, how they drive each other apart, the impact of money (on both sides), and the fights over so many different topics (though mostly abortion, gun control, and youth voting).
You know how people talk about doing an annual reading of their favorite fiction book(s)? That’s how I feel this book should be treated. There’s so many details, from various organizations, to senators and representatives and could’ve been senators and representatives, important donors, movement leaders, and so many more names that could all serve as jumping off points for years and years of research (and that’s not even touching on all the sources in the ‘Notes’ section at the end).
Topics Covered in “All Politics is Local”
The book is structured so that each chapter focuses on a state. Within those chapters, the author talks about the various journeys coalitions and issues have gone through: how some coalitions partnered up and how some became fragmented, how issues were expanded or shrunk, how organizations were built up and how some organizations slowly faded. The author also discusses gun control, the pro-life and pro-choice battles, and youth voting movements. On more of the sideline are the topics of unions, environmental protests, and healthcare. Unifying these topics is money: sometimes in the form of billionaires, sometimes as foundations, and sometimes as corporations.
What the author does well is show us the parts and workings of a political machine that can be hard to identify otherwise, especially if you’re not fully involved in politics. I certainly don’t believe that I now know everything about politics but I feel like I’ve been shown a bigger picture and, in turn, been shown how I can take part in my local politics.
“If lawyers challenged a circuit ruling all the way up to the chain to the Supreme Court, the justices could gut Roe again, as they did in Casey, only more completely this time. But most court watchers assumed that the Supreme Court would not unilaterally overrule Roe, which could spur intense political backlash, instead continuing to allow states more and more leeway, keeping abortion hypothetically legal while also making all but impossible to end an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy.”“All Politics is Local” by Meaghan Winter, page 173
Oh boy. I remember learning about Roe v. Wade in school and thinking that was that, a court decision can’t be changed. But as I read more about the court and legislative actions in the book, I’m astounded at how much can truly be chipped away. The author does a great job of showing how the little actions build up to bigger consequences and bigger impacts.
“The Coloradans working the statehouse and in those political organizations were talented and committed, and they were sticking around. A nexus of the ascendant political class was New Era Colorado, the youth voting group that Steve Fenberg and his friends had started. I kept meeting people and learning that they had interned, volunteered, or worked for New Era.”All Politics is Local by Meaghan Winter, page 177
I can’t immediately recall another line that gave me such warm happy feelings of excitement! The focus on the youth and their activism is so good to see highlighted, but what really excites me is the *staying power* of those that got involved in politics early on in their lives. Throughout the book, you read about the New Era Colorado organization and how instrumental they were in campaigns. The author also explains how the organization invests in their members, but also how leadership specifically invests in their interns by sharing practical knowledge and including them in political experiences.
As mentioned before, this is definitely a book I would like to reread every so often, if only to see how things change, and how some things will probably stay the same. I’m glad that during these stressful weeks, I have finally taken time to tackle some of the books I’ve been wanting to read.
Do you like to read about politics?
Let me know if you decide to pick this book up!
This blog post was a book review of
“All Politics is Local: why progressives must fight for the states” by Meaghan Winter.