Welcome to Election Day, November 8, 2016. The culmination of months — years even — of hard work, passionate debate, bitter propaganda. Finally, an end (we all hope, I’m sure) to this most contentious of election years.
As the day is upon us, I find myself pondering the right I have to vote. It wasn’t always a guarantee. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified granting me the right to vote. Me. My mother. My grandmothers. My sisters. My niece. My girlfriends. My aunts and cousins.
As a child, I recall my mother taking me behind the curtains of the voting booth as she cast her ballot. The swish of the curtains, we stood in front of a panel of buttons. At the end of the voting, my mother allowed me to pull a lever from left to right, recording the votes as official.
I hope that tomorrow brings the beginnings of a peaceful transition of government in the U.S. as the day after presidential election has in the country for the past 240 years. I hope that you exercise your right to vote, remembering that in many places in the world — even today — it is not a guaranteed or a meaningful choice.
Want a good read for the day, or days after the election, with a political theme? Here are a few of my more recent favorites.
All the President’s Men, Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward.
The tale of Watergate, Nixon, Deep Throat and perhaps, the end of American innocence.
Madhouse: The Private Turmoil of Working for the President, Jeffrey Birnbaum.
Birnbaum looks at six senior staffers inside the Clinton White House and details the challenges wreaked upon their lives by the honor of working for the President.
The Residence, Kate Anderson Brower.
Author Brower interviewed hundreds of the White House’s retired ushers, chefs, florists, maids, butlers, doormen, painters and many other former staff members to tell history from the vantage point of those watching it made.
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, John
Heilemann and Mark Halperin.
The riveting story of the 2008 election and the personalities who made that election so electric. Many of the interviews were conducted on deep background and the authors do not hold back on their descriptions of the people or situations.
A few more classics for good measure:
The Boys on the Bus, Timothy Krause with Hunter S. Thompson covering the 1972 Presidential Election.
All the President’s Men, Robert Penn Warren. Pulitzer-prize winning fictionalization of Huey Long, Louisiana political kingpin.
Absolute Power, David Baldacci. A good, ripping read of murder involving the fictional U.S. president.
Election, Tom Perrotta. High school student council elections can be murder!
Primary Colors, Anonymous. The fictionalized account of Bill Clinton’s first presidential run. A riot.
But whatever you do, don’t sit around reading. Take a book to the polls with you. Vote.
Happy Reading & Voting!