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Return to citizen voters

September 22, 2010

“We need to rise to the occasion of citizenship,” writes Harry Boyte on the American Democracy Project blog today, citing the “elephant in the room” at President Obama’s televised Town Hall meeting Monday night where voters expressed disappointment and said that they are waiting for the administration to fix many of the problems confronting middle class Americans.

“People didn’t vote for a man who said he was going to change things,” writes Boyte. “The country elected a president whose message was ‘yes we can.'”  This is the same message as that of the Preamble to the Constitution, Boyte continues, which doesn’t say that the president–or government–will solve our problems.

One strategy for reclaiming our role as “we the people” is working with students faculty, and staff of colleges and universities to join with libraries, community groups, and others to do work to address community challenges. This is at the heart of the Civic Agency Institute–led for the past three years by the American Democracy Project and Center for Democracy and Citizenship–which will bring representatives from more than a dozen campuses together at a meeting this November for training and strategizing.

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