In the sea of books out about the today’s political situation, few if any ask anything substantial of their readers and many leave a person feeling more cynical and helpless than before they started reading. At first glance, I threw How to Get stupid White Men Out of Office: The Anti-Politics, Un-Boring Guide to Power into that pile. However, I soon realized that this book offers something to its audience and asks something from its audience that isn’t found often.
The success stories found in this book offer examples of ways that young people from all areas of the country turned their anger into action and created change in their communities. That gives this book the potential to speak to an audience that is all too often ignored by politicians and lobbyists: real live young people. It has the potential also to speak to a wide range of brown, black, white, suburban, urban, and even rural youth who have been turned off by politics. From those who have never thought they could become involved in changing their community to those who through years of being tuned out by those in power have become cynical about the electoral system.
“Increasingly, the Greens are realizing that local elections provide the best opportunities to build up their base and mount a real challenge to the two party system. Progressive people across the country are parlaying activist energy into electoral victories.” (p 48)
Miram Markowitz, in her article titled, “Two Greens,” tells the story of how two young Greens made into office. This story, like many in the book focuses on local elections and brings to light the idea that working locally is the best and possibly only way to build a strong base of progressive voters in this country.
The only thing Stupid White Men doesn’t do is provide an actual “guide to power. While the potential for waking up many young and not so young people across the country is great, it isn’t particularly radical to say, “Get off your ass and get out the vote.” P. Diddy did that.
Maybe that’s a good thing though; every community has different needs and every person has a different set of abilities. What this book does offer is the message that whatever you decide to do, do what you can and do it relentlessly.
- Title: How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office: The Anti-Politics, Un-Boring Guide to Power
- Authors: William Upski Wimsatt and Adrienne Brown
- Publisher: Soft Skull Press
Kari Kunst was a student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington when she wrote this. She was involved in several activist campaigns, and was The Freechild Project Education Coordinator from 2002-2005.