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Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the…

Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America (edition 2020)

by Stacey Abrams (Author)

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1596136,240 (4.26)8
Title:Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America
Authors:Stacey Abrams (Author)
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2020), 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams


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This book is important, and kudos are due to the articulate Stacy Abrams for highlighting the perils of voter suppression in a democracy. Harkening back to a famous 1966 speech by Martin Luther King in which he urged his followers to participate by voting in order to be heard, and to register at least ten others in the upcoming primary. Abrams goes through the many painstaking efforts by those in power to disenfranchise the poor, the minorities using a myriad of dirty tricks, such as moving polling places, especially to police stations, voter ID 'exact match' verification, inadequate machinery, manipulating voting hours, gerrymandering, providing provisional ballots, making it difficult to obtain absentee ballots, and having elections on a work day. In 27 of 36 OECD countries, national elections are held on the weekend, and in two more, it is a national holiday, all to allow citizens the ability and not just the right to vote. Lots of compelling story telling by an agitator. Abrams tells a funny story about a civils rights leader (Hosea William) who said what cleans clothes in a washing machine is not just the water and soap, but the mechanism that shakes them. I think her strong political beliefs about populism and Trump detracted from her message, but unfortunately are things that need to be said now, before the 2020 election.

It is also time to eliminate the electoral college, which systemically denies the validity of one person, one vote since in two Presidential elections in the 21st century, the victor lost the popular vote. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Abrams lays out all the ways voter suppression works during the present--not necessarily new news to anyone who has followed voting and elections, but it is striking all the same. One of the many reasons I love Abrams is her optimism for all the opportunity we have to grow as a country, and it comes across loud and clear here and is super energizing. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
Vote by mail. Vote in person. Be sure you're registered to vote. Donate money to voter outreach organizations. The stakes were astronomically high for the 2020 election and our ability to vote was under assault at both the systemic level and by the fact that a pandemic continued to sweep through the United States.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, former VP contender, and maybe future governor/Senator/president Stacey Abrams takes the reader through a history of voter suppression and numerous aspects: court cases, absentee/vote by mail ballots, voter ID, the census, the electoral college, etc. Much of this has been reported and written upon elsewhere, but much of this hits home much harder after watching the blatant attempts for everything from slowing the mail to removing drop boxes for ballots to the numerous post-election lawsuits contending the results or how the elections were run, etc.

If you kept up with the news at all I'm not sure how helpful this would be to you. I think Abrams was a great person to write about this (given her experiences!), but the writing can be dry and really dull. It is also arguably out of date (published in June 2020 so the election had not happened yet). I also wish she added a resource list for people who wanted to get involved but didn't know how.

That said, I think a lot of people also missed some of the points she was trying to make. Access to the vote is all that much critical *because* of much of what she wrote about: "identity politics", the rise of populism, etc. We are seeing more open and blatant attempts to suppress the vote because there are people who are terrified of change and terrified marginalized people are increasingly finding voices at the ballot box and in elected office.

Will this book change minds? No. But is it a good resource if you looked at the 2020 election and the ongoing efforts RIGHT NOW as of this review to roll back access to the ballot box? Yes.

Bought this as a bargain book which was best for me to be able to read when I could get to it but for others it might be a good library borrow instead. Overall, I'd say it's a 3 for me but for someone who isn't at all familiar with this might find this as a good primer. ( )
1 vote HoldMyBook | Feb 22, 2021 |
After losing the 2018 Georgia governor’s race by a slim margin in a questionable election (her opponent was Georgia’s chief elections officer and refused to step down during the campaign), Stacey Abrams decided to change the voting landscape in her state. She set up Fair Fight America to register voters and protect their rights at the polls. She later founded another organization called Fair Count in an effort to include under-represented communities in the 2020 census. In Our Time is Now, she details the many insidious ways that governments suppress voters, the importance of the census in securing needed infrastructure and representation in communities, and ways to address all these issues.

Five stars for content and three stars for editing means four stars overall. The book could have done with another round of editing for clarity and to eliminate some repetitiveness. Otherwise…

Reading Our Time is Now in the wake of the 2020 election felt a bit like a victory dance.

Anyone who isn’t outraged by voter suppression doesn’t have a good concept of what “government by the people” means. As a white woman, I’ve never experienced anything like what Ms. Abrams details in these pages. This review keeps turning into a book report because I want everyone to be aware of the issues that she brings to light. Just getting registered to vote in some states is almost impossible. Casting your vote when polling places change without warning and there are only a handful of aging machines to serve a large community turns into an hours-long ordeal. This makes voting impossible for those who can’t take that kind of time off of work.

She points to the overturning of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 as a turning point in voter suppression. The Act, signed into law in 1965, ensured federal oversight of voting practices in states that had a history of voter suppression. States have been free to act with impunity since then and many of them have.

After detailing many of the ways in which voter suppression occurs, Ms. Abrams addresses gerrymandering. She does point out that both parties are guilty of arranging district lines to promote their own interests. This only reinforces that things should be supervised by independent commissions who are as free as possible from outside influence.

She then outlines the purpose of the census and how it directly impacts communities. Minority communities generally have low response rates because they they tend to distrust the government. She points to education as the key to this vital process. Numbers of representatives, infrastructure spending, school locations, public transportation and more rely heavily on these numbers.

The most important section, in my opinion, detailed Ms. Abrams’s ideas for combatting all these anti-democratic practices. Voter education and outreach are the biggest components. She gives evidence from her own campaign of the large impact minority voters can have if they know their rights, fight for them, and show up at the polls rather than giving in to pressure and giving up. Once these communities elect candidates who are sympathetic to their causes, government can start setting some of these wrongs to right.

Knowing that Georgia, long considered a true red state, voted blue in 2020 shows how much difference one determined woman can make. She reached out to minority voters and made sure they knew their rights. Legal advisers were on standby throughout the election to help with suspected voter suppression. And these communities, which so many have tried to silence for so long, raised their voices and were heard. I get chill bumps just thinking about it.

I highly recommend this book for all voters. Government policies could strip any of us of the right to vote. Those of us who are less likely to experience voter suppression (generally white voters) can learn the obstacles that others face and how to be advocates for change. The book didn’t shy away from tough issues but it did leave me with hope that, working together, we can continue to steer our country toward the ideal we know it can be. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Jan 27, 2021 |
If you're an American citizen with the right to vote, then you should read this book.

Confession: Political discussions make my eyes glaze over. I'm an avid reader of social justice, sociology, and psychology, but I rarely read politics. While the basis of this book is politics, focusing on voter rights and suppression, the heart of this book is social justice. When the votes of entire groups of people are suppressed based on the color of their skin and/or their lack of financial resources, that's a social problem.

Stacey Abrams lays out the history of voter suppression, from the early poll taxes to the current, less obvious but far more insidious methods of controlling our vote. She offers a lot of insight from her own experiences in Georgia, sharing stories that give us a clear view of how rampant voter suppression still is within our supposed democracy.

Corruption thrives when left unchallenged in the darkness, so read this book, shine the light, and demand the changes a true democracy deserves.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher.* ( )
1 vote Darcia | Aug 26, 2020 |
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