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January 5, 2009

You Are a Citizen

As we enter the new calendar year and prepare for life under a new presidential administration, I am reminded of an admonition from the incisive journalist Molly Ivins. A few years ago, Molly wrote an essay exhorting Americans not to be cynical, to treasure the most magnificent political legacy any people has ever received.

In her words, we inherit certain powers and rights just by being born in this country:

"...For more than two hundred years people all over the world have been willing to die for a chance to live by these ideals. They died in South Africa, they died at Tiananmen Square ... You have more political power than 99% of all the people who have ever lived on this planet. You can not only vote, you can register other people to vote, round up your friends, get out and do political education, talk to people, laugh with people, call the radio, write the paper, write your elective representative, use your email list, put up signs, march, volunteer, and raise hell. All your lives, no matter what else you do...you have another job, another responsibility; you are a citizen. It is your obligation and requires attention and effort. And on top of that you should make it into a heck of a lot of fun."

Let us make one more New Year's resolution: to have a heck of a lot of fun pushing the Obama administration, the new Congress and our state legislators to seek creative solutions to the tired old problem of gun violence. It is our duty as citizens. Happy New era!

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