Review: Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change

Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change Politics Is for Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change by Eitan Hersh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the book that so many of us need to read, thinking about, and act upon.  Hersh's argument is that there are a lot of people who believe they are politically active because they are engaged in daily news binging and social media arguments but not actually involved in political acts that help to expand one's influence or power.  Primarily, these folks (myself included here) know a lot about the national level blow-by-blow and have deeply-held beliefs about politics but find themselves less likely to do much to build a political powerbase (or support one) to enact change.  Hersh provides different reasons for this.  Sometimes, it's the disconnect between the moral philosophy of the participants (or nonparticipants as they were) and the fact that they would have to actually compromise and navigate complex decisions and trade-offs with other real people.  Another consideration he offers focuses on how it is easy to talk high-handedly in the digital realm but less so when you have to face your neighbor to debate policies that affect you differently.  Hersh provides other interesting and grounded reasons for how too many folks, particularly on the left, are up for debating but not doing and this is historically a trend over the last 70 years.  Throughout the book, Hersh highlights several examples of people who have done the work and expanded their power to help make the changes that they feel are important in the world, but in every case, it takes time, energy, failures, and talking to people.  What I liked about Hersh's work is that he's not trying to be judgmental and he's highlighting what are real and challenging aspects to people in the modern age to getting involved (e.g. young folks now are more transient than every so building political power in a community you may only be in for a year or two seems feudal). Additionally, he hammers home the point that the goal of politics is power and influencing how resources are acquired and distributed and for what purposes; we often shy from that discussion and pretend there is a higher game at hand, but in doing so, we forget the importance of building political bases with which to take action and enact change.  This book is definitely for anyone feeling like they need to do something or feeling like they aren't doing something but still feel exhausted from paying so much attention to politics.

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