Tonight is the last presidential debate. The subject: foreign policy. I generally pride myself on keeping relatively abreast of what’s going on in America politics. I read the paper, listen to the news radio, and watch the Sunday morning news shows. The heightened climate of election season, however, is driving me to despise politics. I’m loathe to turn on the TV in the morning for fear of being bombarded by a fresh load of political spin, lies, and incessant one-up-man ship. Political news has gotten as stale as a bag of week old bagels.
Still, I think making an informed decision is critical to the democratic process in America. But how do you make an educated decision? I would recommend taking some time to look through a few non-fiction political books if you have the time. Ones written by people who can get beyond their personal biases.
My most recent read in this genre is The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power. Now, by looking at the title, you may assume this book has a strong democratic bias. Keywords like “Obama” and “Struggle” and “Redefine” have likely made undecided voters shy away from Mann’s latest work. Yet, The Obamians is a surprisingly even-handed account of Obama’s foreign policy over the past four years, making it ideal reading as you parse out fact from fiction after tonight’s debate.
The author James Mann also wrote a book on the foreign policy of the Bush Administration Rise of the Vulcans. Mann is an authority on American foreign policy on both sides of the aisle. I found that this made him a more reliable judge than most.
While Mann’s prose is clear and concise, The Obamian’s is a rather complex book which requires a solid background in foreign policy, or time and patience to conquer. It took me a month to get through The Obamians, but I’m glad I did.
If you are still undecided, I would recommend looking into The Obamians, or similar books on politicians and their policies. You may find the reality of presidential policy more palatable than the spin.