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PERSPECTIVES

This is where we offer some of our thoughts and perspectives to you. We won't promise they're better than anyone else's. Or even right. But we'll at least provide interesting ways of looking at things.

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We The PEOPLE

Date: 2013-Mar-06           Author: Barry Shatzman

Let me give you a perspective on how new the United States is. People who fought in the Civil War still were alive in my lifetime (and i'm only 54 so if you got jokes about how i must be so old keep em to yourself please).

Anyway, back when i was in my teens i got to hear a radio interview (it was in my car... we had a tv... i told you to keep the age jokes to yourself) with one of those veterans, who said he actually heard Abraham Lincoln deliver his Gettysburg Address.

We got it all wrong, he said.

Even if you never memorized the whole thing like i did (really), i'm pretty sure you know the line about our government being one of the people, by the people, and for the people. Only, according to this guy, that isn't exactly what Lincoln said.

It was "the government of the people, by the people, and for the people." Lincoln stressed the word people, he said.

I'm telling you this for two reasons. One is because it's really cool. And the other is to remind you that you are the people.

One of the reasons i got into journalism was that i didn't like the way the news is treated like a sporting event, simply moving from one game to the next. It gives you a feeling of helplessness - turning democracy into spectator sport.

Those of us at Lobby99 are trying to change that model, by trying to present issues in ways that help you actually understand them. You also know the other stuff we do. But here's the deal... that isn't the end of the game. In fact, it isn't the game at all.

Lobby99 is not one of the players. You are.

If you want your government to work in your interests, who should help with that if not you? Joining Lobby99 only gives you a better home field to play on, but you have to play the game - by learning about the issues, by telling your elected representatives how they can represent your interests, and then by voting based on how well they actually do that. As we like to say, "Democracy is a verb".

So yeah, the tough news is that a government of the people is only as good as the people work to make it. Thankfully, that's the good news too.

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