EVERY VOTE COUNTS: A Teen-Age Guide to the Electoral Process by James J. O'Donnell

EVERY VOTE COUNTS: A Teen-Age Guide to the Electoral Process

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O'Donnell impresses us as naive, first when he says of political leaders that ""the ever-increasing educational level of the public has resulted in an emphasis on inner qualities rather than surface glitter"" and again when he assumes that your highschool constitution is ""very similar to the Constitution of the United States."" Nor does he always stick to his subject: after a few words on how to run for homeroom representative and influence local government by circulating petitions, O'Donnell takes off into a quick review of the history of suffrage and political parties (traditional Republicans are ""conservative, which means they are cautious about using power and making changes""), of national governments (there are three types--presidential, parliamentary, and totalitarian), and of the Constitution and separation of powers. Eventually O'Donnell does discuss dirty politics and even the process of campaigning from primaries through the national convention (""Let's see what your senator is doing. You can imagine his excitement as he and his family arrive in a limousine at his headquarters""). One must credit this political primer for being clear and high-minded. But O'Donnell fails to take into account the fact that young people who don't know a check from a balance have been watching TV newscasts from their cradles and expect a certain amount of savvy even from this kind of demi-text.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Messner