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review 2017-12-02 14:29
Decisions are made by those who show up.
Run for Something: A Real-Talk Guide to ... Run for Something: A Real-Talk Guide to Fixing the System Yourself - Amanda Litman,Hillary Rodham Clinton

In the wake of the 2016 election there has been a wave of people who have decided they will run for office. Seats previously left uncontested, leaving the incumbent to coast to re-elections were challenged. Seats previously held by one party comfortably for years, maybe even decades, were flipped to the other party. In an off-year election, usually there is little interest in running for office. Not this time.

 

Author Litman is one of the people behind the organization called Run for Something. You may have heard of it as a group that helps recruit young people (although it's my understanding you don't have to be young) to run for local office. Litman lays out why people should run, how to do it (or at least a blueprint), and an overview of what to expect. There's breaking down of campaign roles. Testimonies from campaign people and candidates/officeholders who won on how and why they did it. There are explanations as to why Litman urges people to run and what both the candidate and the community (and even the opponent) can gain from running (even if the candidate loses to a long-term incumbent).

 

I don't want to run for office and wasn't convinced by the book to run (but I wasn't looking to be so). And while I've never worked on a campaign I've worked in supporting roles and around campaigns, so much of this was familiar to me. But I still got a lot out of it by Litman's breakdown of everything. The media tends to focus on "big" races like President, governorships, Congress, etc. Your local school board or state House/Senate probably doesn't get a lot of print or airwaves unless something scandalous breaks. I really appreciated Litman's look at these local races and breaking down how running for your local school board is going to be extremely different than a massive operation like running for president. There's a very good chance that it'll just be you and a couple of friends (one friend?) who will be helping you and I'm glad Litman was honest about that.

 

That said, the book is not without its problems (that might not be a problem but me being nitpicky). I really wish there had been an appendix or further reading or resources guide at the end. There's a glossary but no index, either. The book is fairly well-organized and the index wasn't necessary (especially with Google) but this guide is not (and I don't think should be) an end-all because as Litman says herself she can't break down every single thing in a campaign. She does urge the reader to Google and to get in touch with local organizations but a resource guide at the end would have been great. Also, if you're a Republican or conservative or on the right, etc. Litman makes it pretty clear she's a Democrat, despite all the problems with the Democratic Party and its members and gears her book to that audience/aligned people and groups. So you've been warned. Litman also does occasionally cuss but it's not overbearing. If that's something that *really* bothers you, though, then you should perhaps put down the book and not run for office because you'll be shocked by the language on a campaign.

 

I also say that as a starter guide it also doesn't really address what particular issues women, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBT individuals, etc. may face. Litman does note that certain groups may have particular issues or resources that are geared towards them but beyond stating that people will sometimes be mean and/or unhelpful and not to let it get to you the book the book doesn't really address needs of candidates from groups that might need to adjust or find other resources.

 

So I'm also not sure if it's true that Litman says you don't need a thick skin to run for local office.While it's true they're probably not as vicious as a Congressional/Presidential (or even Governor's) race but in the age of social media sometimes you can find local races even more mean because it's local and there is a chance you know someone or know someone who knows someone, etc. This might be just me, though. And I appreciate that Litman (and others) were very honest at how brutal a campaign can be on one personally in terms of health, family, friendships, etc. 

 

As a sidenote: I think that even if you don't want to run, don't want to volunteer for a campaign (which Litman urges people to do if they don't want to run or don't want to run right now), the book is enormously helpful in understanding campaign basics. No, you don't get a convoluted breakdown of campaign finance laws or how various groups work with each other. But I really couldn't help but think of arguments/memes that betrayed a genuine lack of understanding of campaign structures, how they function, etc. There are a lot of people who would benefit from reading this book. As Litman herself says, this has to go beyond marching and complaining. Change will only come if one runs for office and WINS. And the voters can do their part by not only showing up to vote (and helping others vote) but by actually understanding what a campaign does and what a candidate (and their staff) may have to go through. 

 

Overall I liked it. I didn't know what to expect and I really just wanted to support her and RFS. I don't think I've read a book quite like this before but I'd say it's a good place to start if you want to run for office and want something that's not online/to keep with you. Might make an excellent gift for a potential candidate or campaign staffer too.

 

Decisions are made by those who show up. Good luck in your campaign.

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review 2017-11-18 19:53
Woosa- What Happened
What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton

I was mad, happy, sad, and back to mad again by the time I finished this memoir. "What Happened" is Hillary Clinton's comments on the recent 2016 United States Presidential Election. Or as I and my friends started to call it, that farce that we all know was rigged (Hi Russia) but not in the way many think. Clinton talks about voter suppression, Russian bots, Russia itself, the media, and heck even former and current politicians who influenced the 2016 election. Yes she even discusses "But Her emails" too. What I took away from this was even more respect for Clinton than I had previously. Reading this no holds barred look at what happened just hits you in the gut at how much was thrown at her and how the media and politicians kept letting Trump off the hook.

 

I do have to say that Clinton really does discuss everything that you would want her to discuss in this book. She discusses her marriage her life as a mother her life as the first lady and then a secretary of state. She mentions how her meetings with Putin become increasingly hostile because hey, Putin doesn't like women and he certainly did not like Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State not giving an inch when he was trying to take a mile. 

 

One thing that this book that speak of extensively is Hillary Clinton's regrets. Most of her regrets are about failing us. That she is worried for us as a country about what this means when we love fake news and men that attack and demean to rise to positions of power in the United States government?

 

What happens when we decide that being actually really good at your job with real solutions doesn't matter as much as the media can turn something into a meme or a gif and get ratings for it?

 

What happens when we ignore the racism out of some that we have elected to office because we think that there are a good guy that we can have a beer with.

 

I do also like the fact that Hillary Clinton goes into how difficult it is to run in the United States for a woman because of the things that are held against us that really are not held against us in other countries. Other countries have elected women to the highest levels of office. It's kind of embarrassing that for America to go around saying that we are the light and the forefront of democracy that no woman has ever been President or Vice President of these United States of America. I hated how people would say that Hillary Clinton was too shrill or wasn't warm enough or any of these other things that we talk about when we discuss women. But men are seen as being forceful and in charge when they're nasty and loud and throw s***.

 

I loved her comments on the Mothers of the Movement, Flint (she's still pissed and we all should be), the NRA, and people who shook her hand and would then call her the devil saying she should be locked up. 

 

I do have to say though that I would recommend this book to people who just want to read more about Hillary Clinton's thoughts. Because she truly comes alive in this book. I was lucky enough to meet Secretary Clinton back when I was in Iraq and I loved her personality. She looked you right in the eyes when she was talking to you, and you knew that she was listening to what you were saying. I think that says a lot about somebody that she made sure that she personally talked to everybody that had to come to see her give a speech while I was in Iraq. She had to be tired and ready to go, but she made sure she stayed there and talked to everybody who was willing to talk to her. I've seen other politicians flying through who couldn't spend more than 5 minutes talking to you and really wanted to be left alone.

 

I do think that in the end history is going to remember Hillary Clinton for not just the first woman who managed to get the Democratic nomination for president. But just as a very good person to know who fought for us even when many were hoping she fail. 

 

Look at the media going after the Clintons again, talking about Benghazi again, wanting her to be guilty of something because then it would help erase some of the guilt that they all probably should and do feel over how they easily played into the hands of another foreign power and Donald Trump.

 

Onward together.

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review 2017-11-02 23:43
Review of What Happened by Hillary Clinton
What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton

I am very excited to have read this book as I will have a chance to meet Hillary Clinton at a book signing in December.  This book had a great deal that I enjoyed, but only rated it as three stars because I felt that long parts of the story had nothing to do with the 2016 election.  While I did enjoy reading about her earlier life, I felt like I already knew that part of her story from reading her earlier books.  I really enjoyed her thoughts about the election and why she thinks it turned out the way it did.  Most reviewers allow their personal political opinions to sway their reviews, but objectively, I think she makes many plausible points.  Also, as I read in the news every day, it may quickly be realized that her warning about Trump and the Russian connections were very on point.  I recommend this for political junkies who approach it with an open mind.

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review 2017-10-13 00:00
What Happened
What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton I really enjoyed this. It helped to soothe me. I was not happy how everything went down. She gives her side of everything, but it isn't a crying story. It tells what she did wrong and what other circumstances went wrong. It tells how she got over it, things she turned to in order to feel better. I enjoyed seeing more of her without a guard up. I understand why she has always had to shield herself, but it's nice seeing more of her. She encouraged everyone to follow their dreams and not give up on the government but to get involved. Even though it covers a time that left me depressed, it's an uplifting story. Seeing how smart she is and knowledgeable on issues does make it feel even more insane that she didn't win.
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review 2017-10-13 00:00
It Takes a Village: Picture Book Edition
It Takes a Village: Picture Book Edition... It Takes a Village: Picture Book Edition - Hillary Rodham Clinton,Marla Frazee This book is to show kids that it takes all of us, a diverse population which includes adults and kids to do things. The people in the book are working on a community project together. There's a line in it that says something about kids not coming with instructions (or something like that), and it says grown-ups don't either. I thought that was a good point to make for kids.
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