What is a summary of America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Humorist Jon Stewart's America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction satirizes American politics and is written in a format that parodies an American high school student's government textbook by including class assignments, questions, and learning strategies. Other cast members of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show also contributed articles to the book, including Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, and Ed Helms.

The book particularly details the history of democracy and opens with a discussion of democracy in other earlier cultures. The first chapter starts by describing democracy in ancient Grecian and Roman times and then moves into explaining how England's Magna Carta, written in 1215, and Enlightenment thinkers of the 1600s and 1700s helped shape American democracy. It further details the history of the discovery of America and a description of events leading up to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The next three chapters describe the three branches of the federal government--the presidency, Congress, and the judiciary branch. The section on the presidency particularly lays out restrictions and powers imposed and given by the Founding Fathers.

The chapter on campaigns and elections details the qualities needed in a political candidate, such as liking babies, veterans, and feigning "interest in old people" (p. 104). It further talks about fund raisers, developing a platform, and gives a description of the campaign trail.

The book ends with a discussion of the future of democracy in America. The final chapter starts by listing potential threats, such as the growing population and global warming. It further lays out what it identifies as "theories" for the future, including the theory we will be overtaken by robots; that Spanish will become our national language; and that the return of Jesus Christ will whisk all the saved from America, leaving the Democrats to rule the House and Senate. The chapter also gives a discussion of what the book calls "the absolute truth" of what will happen in the future to American democracy. The final chapter ends by comparing America to other countries to show that America isn't the worst place to live despite its flaws.

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