We Americans tend to take our rights and freedoms for granted. We assume that newscasters can criticize the government, that the police will not search our homes or make us “disappear,” that politicians represent the people and are not in office to get rich. The rest of the world does not have those assurances.
Warning: This book is addictive! All those little sidebars of fascinating information make it hard to put down. Juliette Turner (who is fourteen years old, BTW!) looks at each article and section of the American Constitution, puts it in simpler words we can understand and points out what difference it makes to twenty-first-century American democracy. She’s comparing us to eighteenth-century Europe and the failures of the short-lived Articles of Confederation, not to 1970s and 80s Ethiopia, but the book makes me grateful for a system of checks and balances that has stood for 225 years! Turner often features direct quotes from the Founding Fathers, showing their debates. I was amazed at how many of their concerns reflect issues that are still with us today.
Frankly, I expected a right-wing agenda to this book. For the most part, the author tries to keep a non-partisan point-of-view, showing us the issues and how they work out in modern life. Only occasionally are personal opinions expressed, but the tone of the book invites investigation and coming to your own conclusions.
We left Ethiopia in 1977 when Good Shepherd School closed at the end of that school year. The country suffered under Mongistu for seventeen more years. Even today they struggle with major political, spiritual and economic issues. I still believe in the sovereignty of God. I’m still grateful to be protected by the American constitution.
[I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.]