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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Somebody's Gotta Do It

Why Cursing at the News Won't Save the Nation, But Your Name on a Local Ballot Can

Adrienne Martini

Henry Holt and Co.



You are angry. You are afraid. Given all that has happened in recent years, you can’t see how to get this country back on a sane path, one with protections for the most vulnerable people and our environment. And one where every person—no matter their race, economic status, or sexual orientation—is treated equally under the law.

In 2019, the nation’s prospects were made even more harrowing by the Supreme Court decision that, according to a very narrow interpretation of centuries of case law, gerrymandering is A-OK. The consequences of this could be grim. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent: “These gerrymanders enabled politicians to entrench themselves in office as against voters’ preferences.”

The way forward feels impossible to see. I hear you. I am you.

Even though the power of positive thinking is part of why we’re here, it is true that every crisis also contains opportunity. Dig deep and discover your joyful warrior within. The only way out of this is to convert all that fear and ire and disgust into action. Small steps matter, especially if we hold hands and take them together.

Right now, there is a ripe, juicy opportunity ready to be plucked. The redistricting that will happen in 2021 will set electoral maps for a decade. Now is the time to run for local or state office (or support someone who is) because those offices have the most influence on how districts are drawn. When IS now exactly? It’s … well, it’s now. You might want to read this book first, but then, after that, immediately after that—is now.

“Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat watching right now, if you know someone who ought to run for something, or if you ought to run for something, the thing you ought to run for is the state legislature in your state,” Rachel Maddow said. “And you better do it right now.”

This book offers some hints and tips about running for local office but isn’t a how-to. Other books, such as Amanda Litman’s Run for Something: A Real-Talk Guide to Fixing the System Yourself, will give you an action plan for getting in the game. The book you have in your hands (or on your screen) is, instead, your companion while you do what Amanda tells you to do. Somebody’s Gotta Do It is an experienced (okay, slightly experienced) friend to anyone who wants to rebuild and reimagine what America can be. The officeholders at the top of the system can only do so much without working with the elected representatives at the bottom. This book will show you that you (yes, you!) are somebody who can make a difference. And this book will keep you company when it feels like too much. It isn’t too much, really. Sort of. And anyway, even when on occasion it is a lot, somebody’s gotta do it.

Copyright © 2020 by Adrienne Martini