I probably shouldn’t have called my first book, “How the U.S. Government Works.”
I mean, I can’t begin to tell you how many times people have said to me at book signings, “It doesn’t.” Or “you’re the only guy who thinks it does.” Or my personal favorite: (Man shouts to his wife): “Hey hon, this guy must be the smartest guy in the world. He’s the one who actually understands how the government works!”
Ok, I was asking for trouble. I knew it. But that’s what my then 8-year-old daughter asked me to write about when, bless her heart, she said: “Daddy, can you make a book for me about how the U.S. government works?” Of course I can, sweetheart. And that’s what I did.
So go ahead. Laugh. Scoff. Toss me one-liners. I’ve heard them all. I can take it. I’ve even got a comeback. “Hey, don’t believe me – buy my book and find out.”
Because I really do believe that the U.S. system of government, that complex, American-made blend of federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances that the Founding Fathers cobbled together in Philadelphia the summer of 1787 with only 27 changes since then, works.
I mean, could it work better? Of course it could. And are there times when it doesn’t work as well as it could? Yep, no doubt we’ve had times like that, too, and still do.
But on the whole, I think our system has done what the Founders hoped it would: Developed and sustained a diverse republic of separate states, regions, and cultures and blended them into a powerful nation that continues to operate under the rule of law.
So that’s why I’ve written these books, and that’s why I like talking about them, and that’s why I’m writing this blog. Because I know children have lots of questions about how things work, and I want to explain to them how their government works and why it works that way. Because I believe in our system, and I want children to learn about it and to believe in it, too. And most importantly, because the better someone understands how something works, then the more likely they will be able to fix it when it doesn’t work as well as it should, and perhaps even to help it work better.
So kids, parents, teachers, this blog is for you. Consider it a supplement to my books. I’ll write about topics in my books that relate to events happening now, such as the presidential election, or debates about important laws, or decisions by the courts.
But this doesn’t just have to be about what I want. Do you have topics you would like me to write about? Let me know. I want to know what you think. Because, as the Founders believed when they left Philly that hot summer in 1787, we are all in this together.
So let’s make this work.