President Citizen

Multicultural Superheroes
Venus on the Half-Shell

President Citizen coverPresident Citizen
Goffee
1992

Submitter: We are currently re-cataloguing and re-classifying our Education Library and this little gem popped up on my desk. It’s a wonderful little book about the president… more specifically the American president and how to become the main man. I started reading this book and was quite impressed with the idea that presidents are normal people that have to go to school and write exams and they might even get married. The very next page summarized that anyone can be president. It doesn’t matter if you are white or black or a man or a woman, sane or mad (yes you heard me right – even mad people may become president and I am sure that’s been taken very literally in some African countries…).

The next page describes the rules of becoming a president (older than 35, a born citizen belonging to one of the major parties etc.).  BUT because you only have a one in 20,000,000 chance of becoming the president, and I quote, “It will be easier if your ancestors came from Europe, if you are white and male and rich AND if powerful people are your friends.”  With this single sentence this whole book fell apart for me.

I wish my dog would eat this book!

Holly: Slather it in peanut butter and let the dog have at it! (Weed it first…)

how to become president

any citizen can be president

easier if you are white and rich

12 comments

  1. I actually like that they put that in a kids book. Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean they can’t deal handle a few uncomfortable truths.

    I do have an issue with the “Or TRY harder” line. That makes it sound like the reason we’ve only had one POC president, and no women, is because the rich white males are just more determined, not because of cultural racism and sexism effecting who the major parties nominate.

  2. If the book is going to throw out the “It’ll be easier…” text, there really needs to a follow-up page explaining WHY it will be easier. If an explanation is omitted because prejudice and the good ol’ boys system are not the focus of the book, then this whole book needs to be weeded.

  3. “It will be easier if your ancestors came from Europe, if you are white and male and rich AND if powerful people are your friends.”

    Well, it’s true…

  4. I don’t think those comments alone make it weed worthy. It sounds like the authors were trying to tell both sides of the story, both the constitutional/legal how-it-works, as well as the political and social truths.

  5. We all wish it wasn’t true. As of now, in general, it’s true. Infuriatingly true.

    It deserves a brief discussion. Things are changing, glacially.

  6. In junior high I worked on the school paper. When I needed filler I would grab an old joke from a book of my grandmother’s (not the best idea, in retrospect). One of the jokes was, “Why haven’t we had a woman president?” “Because a president has to be over 40, and no woman will ever admit she’s over 40!”
    Well, when it saw print, the teacher had changed the text to read: “…no woman will admit she’s over 35!” Which is, of course, the age limit given in the Constitution — but kind of killed the joke. (A mercy killing, perhaps, but still…) And in terms of realpolitik the youngest president had been Theodore Roosevelt, who ascended at age 42. JFK at 43 was the youngest elected.

  7. Only eighty more years before it will become easier to become a minority president. But it really does help to have well heeled friends in high places…

  8. “even mad people may become president and I am sure that’s been taken very literally in some African countries…”

    Wow.

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