The Voter Quoter

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Moyers on America: A Journalist and His Times - by Bill Moyers, The New Press, 2004

Excerpt from "This Is Your Story. Pass It On.", p. 20. (Full chapter is available online.)

Ideas have power—as long as they are not frozen in doctrine—but they need legs. The eight-hour day; the minimum wage; the conservation of natural resources and the protection of our air, water, and land; women’s rights and civil rights; free trade unions; Social Security; a civil service based on merit—all these were launched as citizen’s movements and won the endorsement of the political class only after long struggles and in the face of bitter opposition and sneering attacks. Democracy doesn’t work without citizen activism and participation. Trickle-down politics is no more effective than trickle-down economics. Moreover, civilization happens because we don’t leave things to other people. What’s right and good doesn’t come naturally. You have to stand up and fight as if the cause depends on you. Allow yourself that conceit—to believe that the flame of democracy will never go out as long as there’s one candle in one citizen’s hand.

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