An American citizen writes

After Any Election

In a land where government is "by the people" and "for the people," Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863; what is "big government"? Who are the "they" commonly referred to as the government? If the people are the sovereign power, the "they" is us, isn't it? Because we are the "they," doesn't our willingness to stand for what we believe have a distinct bearing on the atmosphere about us, whether in our homes, our churches, our careers, or in our governments or the world at large?

If we permit ourselves to become cynical and skeptical, ready to believe the suggestion that there is no hope for advancing human rights and no receptivity to new ideas—if we have a "what's the use?" attitude—we sell ourselves short. Apathy and conformity on the part of citizens may give rise to misuse—even abuse—of power. Participation in the governmental process at all levels is essential if democratic standards as we know them are to continue.

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Are You Putting the Cart Before the Horse?
January 15, 1977
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