What have you been reading lately? Here are some books I’ve checked out from our local library or listened to on audio from Libro.fm lately. This post is part of a recurring series of book reviews of things I’ve been reading and listening to lately. Check out past editions of Reading Lately.
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Forward: Notes on the Future of our Democracy by Andrew Yang
Yang starts the book by sharing his experiences campaigning around the United States during his bid for the presidency leading up to the 2020 election, a time during which he says he saw so many fundamental broken elements of our American democracy.
He continues to lay out in Section 2 of the book more details about the systematic and fundamental problems he sees with the political infrastructure in the United States. In the last section, he discusses potential solutions he thinks could bring meaningful change to our political system so that it would serve the people (as it should) instead of just serving the handful of people in power in politics.
Introducing the Forward Party
The book ultimately makes the case for the Forward Party, a new political party co-created by Yang (and others) with the intent of really shaking up the way that politics function in our country. Unlike the Republican and Democratic political parties that have clearly defined policy stances and agendas on most optics, the Forward party has limited specific policy agenda items (by design), though they do have three policy positions that create the foundation for the party.
Yang and the Forward Party believe that we need 1) rank-choice voting, 2) open primaries, and 3) term limits for the Supreme Court and certain political offices. These are pretty simple (and not new) positions. Most Americans agree with these positions too. But because they likely take power from those who currently hold political positions and power in Washington, most current politicians have little interest in engaging with these ideas.
The group behind the Forward Party believes that shifts to these principles and election formats would drastically change the way politics operate in the United States (and I tend to agree with him). They change the behavioral incentives for politicians, encouraging them to be more positive, more effective, and represent a larger portion of everyday citizens.
Intent to Better Represent More Americans
While I don’t agree with every solution Yang supports, he brings a refreshing perspective to a lot of issues. And I do agree with many of his positions. In fact, most Americans want to see many of the solutions Yang proposes.
In many ways, the Forward Party reflects the desires of a majority of Americans about many topics that can’t make headway in Washington because such policy changes that are good for everyday citizens don’t serve longtime politicians and the duopoly of power that currently reigns.
If you’re feeling disenfranchised or disappointed by our current political system (and who doesn’t), I definitely recommend checking out this book. We won’t see overnight solutions to a democratic system that actually works like a functioning democracy overnight, but the book and the Forward Party offer some promising and seemingly achievable options that can give everyday citizens more agency in the political process that so significantly impacts our everyday lives.
How It Relates to Climate Action
As it relates to climate matters, many solutions require massive, institutional change that will only come to fruition through regulation, legislation, and institutional change. This must be driven by government action in many cases.
Understanding how democracy works and having a government that truly represents the desires, intentions, and best interests of the American people is incredibly important as we look to continue addressing the climate crisis.
It’s too early to know if a solution like the Forward Party would address this. But we do need deep, systematic changes in our government to fix our broken politics and make space for honest, compromising politicians who will represent the American people on matters that impact our future as significantly as climate change. Books like this help foster conversation and bolster new ideas about how we can move forward in a more collaborative and less divisive political climate.
Genre Political/Political Process – General/Commentary & Opinion/Nonfiction | Pages 368 | Length 9 hours 17 minutes
A Note on Buying and Borrowing Books
We include affiliate links to books we recommend. If you purchase through one of these links, Honestly Modern earns a very small commission that has no impact on your purchase price.
If you can find the books from your local library, from a friend, at an independent bookstore, or through a used book shop, those sources are ideal. Using the library is zero waste, saves money, and saves space in your home because you can read all the books without storing all the books on your bookshelves. If you’re not sure of the best way to use your local library, check out these tips to make the most of your local library. With a little exposure, your kids will learn to LOVE the library!
If you prefer to listen to audiobooks, we recommend using Libro.fm, our favorite audiobook app. We’ve tried several audiobook apps and love that Libro.fm supports independent bookstores and offers a great user experience.
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.