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Comparison of Catch 22 and America: The Book

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Essay title: Comparison of Catch 22 and America: The Book

America is a work of non-fiction; though the information is presented in a comical manner, it is based on fact. On the other end of the spectrum, Catch-22 is a fictional piece that satires real events. While this might seem to make them different, it actually makes them extremely similar. Though America (The Book) and Catch-22 have many differences, there are certain similarities in theme and tone that can be used to link the two together.

America (The Book): A Citizen’s guide to Democracy Inaction takes a very alternative approach to teaching people about the American government. It is in the form of a textbook, but it is unlike any traditional textbook out there. The foreword, written by Thomas Jefferson, sets the mood for the entire book by poking fun at the perfection of the founding fathers. He tells how the founding fathers, including him, weren’t perfect and we need to stop thinking that their ideas were perfect, too.

The first two chapters of the book discuss the world before America. It includes a timeline of all the dates and facts from history that will supposedly be important for a reader to know throughout the book, such as in 1492, “America discovers white people.” It discusses all the different types of government before the democracy of America and shows how, although some of them might seem excellent, we would think they were terrible and complain because we take our rights and privileges for granted.

In chapters three and four it talks about the president and congress. It shows how our founding fathers, by today’s standards, could never be president. It also tells about all their flaws and how, although they weren’t perfect, they were excellent men. Another interesting fact, is how all of our presidents fit a white male stereotype, even though supposedly any citizen can become president. Congress has also changed since the founding of our country. The congress was designed to be the law making body of our country, but they seem to be getting less and less productive. The book also illustrates how although congress is necessary, it has a lot of problems, too.

Towards the end of the book, it shows how the media drives the nation. The mass media control they way people think, feel, and what values they hold. Since it is practically impossible for the average individual to pay attention to all of the legislation and meet all the officials, they must depend on the media to shape their beliefs.

So many times American citizens, especially high school and college students who haven’t seen much of the world outside their small suburban towns, tend to feel that the United States is not a great country; some punk bands go so far as to say that Americans are idiots. If one looks at other forms of government, especially any form of government preceding American democracy, they were not very pleasant. Many of the rulers were tyrannical and oppressing. Although it can seem like our government is restrictive, when we look at how much more open-minded the American government is than some other countries, where the state sanctions rape, torture, and genocide, we can see just how tolerant our country is. Our nation also has a constitution that preserves our freedoms, which most other countries do not have. Even those countries that do have constitutions based them off of America’s.

One idiosyncrasy of our nation’s democracy is the president himself. Although any natural-born citizen over a certain age who is an American resident can theoretically be president, in reality that is not the case. So far, to be president one must be a rich white male that is religious, but not too religious, or a non-Christian. America also has an interesting and much-debated voting system. When our nation was created they used the Electoral College to make the individual’s vote less important in order to lessen the effect of a generally uneducated public. Should we explain the electoral college briefly? Now that most voting-aged citizens have easy access to the media, they can supposedly make a more informed vote. If every vote in the nation counted equally, and if a vote was a unit of SI measurement, each vote would be worth 9.5 nanovotes (these figures are based on the fact that the book says each vote counts as .000000949% of the total vote). Another problem with the way voting works today is that a vote from Wyoming has more weight than a vote from California, because of the ratio of electoral votes to population.

America (The Book) Calls congress the “gastrointestinal tract” of the nation. This means that congress is a long and hazardous route for legislation to pass through, which is also full of crap. One of the major flaws with today’s congress is how long it takes them to decide on an issue. Congressmen get one-hundred-thirty-five days’ vacation each year, nominally to meet and talk with the people from their state; in reality

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