The next book that has been chosen for the Open Democracy Book Club is Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Jamie Raskin.
On April 11, Congressman Raskin will join us via Zoom for the first half hour for discussion and Q&A.
In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life—and his family’s—as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation’s Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence.
On December 31, 2020, Tommy Raskin, the only son of Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later on January 6, Congressman Raskin returned to Congress to help certify the 2020 Presidential election results, when violent insurrectionists led by right wing extremist groups stormed the U.S. Capitol hoping to hand four more years of power to President Donald Trump. As our reeling nation mourned the deaths of numerous people and lamented the injuries of more than 140 police officers hurt in the attack, Congressman Raskin, a Constitutional law professor, was called upon to put aside his overwhelming grief—both personal and professional—and lead the impeachment effort against President Trump for inciting the violence. Together this nine-member team of House impeachment managers riveted a nation still in anguish, putting on an unprecedented Senate trial that produced the most bipartisan Presidential impeachment vote in American history.
Now for the first time, Congressman Raskin discusses this unimaginable convergence of personal and public trauma, detailing how the painful loss of his son and the power of Tommy’s convictions fueled the Congressman’s work in the aftermath of modern democracy’s darkest day. Going inside Congress on January 6, he recounts the horror of that day, a day that he and other Democrats had spent months preparing for under the correct assumption that they would encounter an attempted electoral coup—not against a President but for one. And yet, on January 6, he faced the one thing he had failed to anticipate: mass political violence designed to block Biden’s election. With an inside account of leading the team prosecuting President Trump in the Senate, Congressman Raskin shares never before told stories of just how close we came to losing our democracy that fateful day and lays out the methodical prosecution that convinced Democrats and Republicans alike of Trump’s responsibility for inciting insurrectionary violence against our government.
Through it all, he reckons with the loss of his brilliant, remarkable son, a Harvard Law student whose values and memory continually inspired the Congressman to confront the dark impulses unleashed by Donald Trump. At turns, a moving story of a father coping with his pain and a revealing examination of holding President Trump accountable for the violence he fomented, this book is a vital reminder of the ongoing struggle for the soul of American democracy and the perseverance that our Constitution demands from us all.
Available at your local book store (Hardcover 18.99):
Gibson's Bookstore, 45 South Main St., Concord, NH 03301 603-224-0562
Water Street Books, 125 Water St., Exeter, NH 03833 603-778-9731
Toadstool Bookstores, 12 Depot St., Peterborough, NH 03458 (603) 924-3543
- Publisher : Harper; First Edition (January 4, 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0063209780
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063209787
- Item Weight : 1.4 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
Granite Staters! Join volunteers across your state to help NH high school students register to vote before they graduate this spring!
More than 16,000 people turn 18 in New Hampshire every year. As of the close of the 2022/2023 school year, however, only 15.6% of the Granite State’s 18-year-olds are registered to vote. This compares to 80% of voters age 35 and above who are registered to vote in NH and an estimate of 30.6% of 18-year-olds nationwide in 2022.
Across the country, The Civics Center consistently finds that when young people are registered to vote, they turn out at high rates. In fact, a 2022 report by TCC showed that 83% of New Hampshire 18-year-olds who were registered turned out to vote in the 2022 midterms.
Open Democracy, in partnership with the The Civics Center, developed a program aimed at boosting NH high school voter registration. The pilot ran during the 2022/2023 school year and generated further student and faculty engagement in the Fall of 2023.
The Civics Center and Open Democracy’s joint effort contributed to a near doubling of voter registration rates for 18-year-olds in the state as a whole from June 2022 to July 2023. During that period, the rate increased from 8.5% to 15.6%.
Register for this virtual 90 minute workshop on Tuesday, March 26th at 6:00 p.m. (ET) to learn how to encourage and empower students and educators to organize voter registration events for their schools.
This workshop is hosted by The Civics Center and Open Democracy New Hampshire, two non-partisan, non-profit organizations that provide voter education and outreach to help high school students register to vote.
In 2020, in some of the darkest days of the COVID pandemic, one of our Open Democracy Team members proposed an "Open Democracy Book Club." To our surprise, 300 citizens registered for the first book and discussion in January. Certainly, the pandemic gave us some time at home to read, but the hunger to learn about the problems and how to fix them was there already. Our Book club now has more than 500 members!
Each time we address these three guiding questions about our democracy through the books chosen:
Where are we?
How did we get here?
What do we do about it?
Help us select Open Democracy Book Club’s 2024 selections - here!
Four times a year we read and discuss a new book. When possible, we have the author speak for 30 minutes. Then we are divided into breakout rooms for small group discussions, returning to the main group at the end to share ideas and pool resources. Everyone is welcome to participate, whether or not you have had a chance to read the book.
To Join the Book Club - Sign Up Below
You will be added to the Open Democracy Book Club email list, where members receive updates about upcoming books, guests, and discussion questions.
We recently concluded our 2023 season
In January we discussed The Scheme. As the story of Supreme Court malfeasance and ethics violations repeatedly makes front-page news, the paperback version of The Scheme comes at a time of crisis for the American judiciary.
In September, Kristin Eberhard joined us to discuss her book Becoming a Democracy: How We Can Fix the Electoral College, Gerrymandering and our Elections.
Our June book was Carol Anderson's One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy. Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws.
In April we were thrilled to welcome bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and Emmy award-winning producer and correspondent Hedrick Smith to our book club for a discussion of his book Who Stole The American Dream?
- January 16, 2024 The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court, by Sheldon Whitehouse and Jennifer Mueller
- September 14, 2023 Becoming A Democracy, How We can Fix the Electoral College, Gerrymandering and Our Elections by Kristin Eberhard
- June 13, 2023 One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson
- April 13, 2023 Who Stole The American Dream? Hedrick Smith
- January 17, 2023 Democracy Vouchers by Tom Latkowski
- Sept 15, 2022 Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want with Frances Moore Lappé & Adam Eichen
- June 9, 2022 The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
- April 14, 2022 How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
- Jan 13, 2022 Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Steealth Plan for America with Nancy MacLean
- Oct 14, 2021 Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams
- May 27, 2021 The Politics of Joy (and Sacrifice): The Fearless Walks and Historic Talks of Doris ‘Granny D’ Haddock, a compilation of inspiring speeches given by Doris with Dennis Burke
- Apr 15, 2021 They Don't Represent Us with Lawrence Lessig
- March 4, 2021 Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy with David Daley
- January 21, 2021 Corporations are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations with Jeff Clements
Recordings of previous book club meetings here.Sign up
NH's Reputation as a Leader in Fair Elections May Be in Jeopardy - New Hampshire is fortunate to have higher than average civic engagement. Our state leaders often point to our status as the first-in-the-nation Presidential primary and our well-run elections as proof of the Granite State's exceptional civic involvement.
NH Needs an Educated, Civically-Engaged Workforce - Businesses and organizations large and small depend on an educated, civically-engaged workforce.
In 2022, deliberate barriers to voting were set in law in New Hampshire. These barriers particularly impact young workers, students, folks who might want to move to New Hampshire for work. Companies considering expanding here may think long and hard before making a commitment.
Legislators Must Hear that Businesses Support a Healthy Democracy - Below is a "Statement of Principles to Support New Hampshire's Democracy." We're asking your organization to consider signing on to these principles, which we will communicate to the New Hampshire legislature and Governor.
Please reach out with questions, suggestions, or comments:
Olivia Zink, Executive Director, Open Democracy
Sara Lobdell, Program Coordinator, Open Democracy
More on why a Healthy Democracy is Good Business, from Open Democracy member Thomas Oppel:
Statement of Principles
by New Hampshire Businesses and Organizations which support a healthy democracy
I. We believe that a NH government of, by, and for its citizens must safeguard the precious freedom to vote for ALL of its eligible citizens.
II. For the NH Government to truly represent its citizens, it must guarantee universally accessible and secure voting, and ensure there are no existing or future barriers to exercise that right.
III. We will not support, with our contributions or our votes, any candidates or elected representatives who initiate, vote for, or support laws that make voting more difficult for NH citizens. Nor shall we support those who oppose laws to make the voting process more efficient.
IV. Just as true prosperity in NH requires that all businesses play on a level playing field, we must have a level playing field for our elections and politics. Our NH voting districts must be based on valid census information and be free of manipulation by partisan voting data, and to ensure this, the redistricting process must be public, and its methods disclosed.
V. Together, we believe that when the electoral system is fair, and the constitutional rights and values of our citizens are honored, our NH Government will truly be “of the people," our economy will be prosperous, and both will work for the greater good of all.
This statement and its signers will be communicated to
The Governor, the Executive Council, the NH Senate and House, and the NH Secretary of State
High School Voter Registration Drives Fellowship
Application and description HERE.
How do I apply?
Email Olivia Zink [email protected] expressing your interest with a resume and cover letter to apply to either position.
Open Democracy is committed to an inclusive democracy movement. As such, we are an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to recruiting, hiring, training, promoting and administering any and all personnel actions without regard to gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, race, age, national origin, religion, economic status, or ability, or any other legally protected status, and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment.
Coalition for Open Democracy | 4 Park Street, Suite 301 | Concord, NH 03301 | 603.715.8197 www.OpenDemocracyNH.org| [email protected]
Carol Shea-Porter, Chair. – former member of Congress (D-NH); politics and history teacher; founder of a non-profit social service agency
John Broderick – former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court; former Executive Director of the Rudman Center at University of New Hampshire Law School
Brad Cook – partner and past President of Sheehan Phinney Law Firm; Chair of the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission
Lew Feldstein – past President of the NH Charitable Foundation; co-author of Better Together: Restoring the American Community
Paul Hodes – former member of Congress (D-NH); attorney; member, National Council on the Arts; founder of the Economic Innovation Institute
Joe Magruder – former News Editor, Associated Press of New Hampshire
Lillye Ramos Spooner – Director of Operations for Greater Manchester AIDS Project; former member of the NH Commission on the Status of Women
Stephen Reno – Executive Director of Leadership New Hampshire; former Chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire
John Rauh – former President of Americans for Campaign Reform, now part of Issue One; former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Jim Rubens – entrepreneur; former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate; former New Hampshire state Senator
Betty Tamposi – Assistant Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush; as a state Representative, was Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee; former member of the Board of Governors of the University of New Hampshire
Dan Weeks – co-owner of ReVision Energy; former Executive Director of Open Democracy
** Affiliations listed for identification purposes only. Advisory Board members serve in their individual capacities.
Open Democracy is working to achieve political equality for all.
We envision a government accountable to the people, free from the influence of wealthy special interest groups.
With your help, we will:
1. Establish small donor, voter-owned honest elections
2. End gerrymandering and modernize voting
3. Eradicate Super PACs & neutralize Citizens United
4. Expose unlimited, anonymous Dark Money
5. Eliminate Pay-to-Play lobbyist & contractor donations
6. Enforce campaign finance laws & close loopholes
- Volunteer, or join a regional Open Democracy Team! Right now, protecting our democracy needs you to speak up, and to take action.
- Give a one-time or recurring gift to help support our mission, if you're unable to take action. This helps us organize others and expand the chorus of voices for reform! You can also mail us a check to "Coalition for Open Democracy": 4 Park Street, Suite 301, Concord, NH 03301
We welcome your questions and ideas! Please contact us anytime:
4 Park Street, Suite 301
Concord, NH 03301