Though I had been an anti-war activist in college during the seventies and to this day remain a militant environmentalist, I never truly appreciated what it meant to live in a democratic society until I almost gave up on left wing “politics”. I’m not sure what opened my eyes to the fact that authority must never be concentrated into one person, however benevolent they may be, but it may have started in the late nineties with an intellectually sharp friend of mine who was an eloquent and astute scientist and labor activist. She showed me that left wing thought was anything but dead , but given the times ,it was displaced by conservatives debating centrists acting as “liberals”. Through her, I rediscovered such thinkers as Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, both of whom showed me what true democracy should l ook and sound like. Oddly enough ,twenty years had to pass before something I had read in my American Government course resurfaced from the depths of my subconcious mind. To wit;A democracy assumes that its citizens are intelligent enough to make informed decisions.
With that in mind, I began to appreciate the value of citizenship and the indispensible role that government should play in our lives.For example insuring opportunity and justice for those who are economically disadvantaged . Or to preserve America’s rich natural heritage as in the Cape Cod National Seashore.I also started questioning the ideology of “free enterprise” So yes I believe in big government .Three-hundred million people big. Why? Because theoretically we ARE the government. The leaders in Washington represent US. And as a believer in egalitarian democracy, I work and dream for the day when the bread and circus distractions of “American Idol ” and “Survivor” are displaced by news, information and art that delights and informs the public that we may avoid wars and other policies of questionable value and necessity. I dream for the day when MCAS tests are replaced by the teaching of critical thinking as a core requirement in public education. I could go on ,but I’ll conclude by dreaming for the day when a diverse, indpependent media views the poeple as intelligent citizens of a democratic society rather than mere consumers of goods and services.This, I believe.
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