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76 things you can do to boost civic engagement

Brookings: “The year 1776 was an auspicious year for democracy. The idea that a people could govern themselves was radical at the time. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed are for most Americans revered documents and a cornerstone of our democracy. Over the years, this idea of democratic republicanism has become central to American identity, and yet without citizen participation, the government of, by, and for the people will not last. Ben Franklin famously said, “A republic, if you can keep it,” when asked what form of government the founders had created. He was charging “we the people” with the responsibility of protecting self-government. The mix of dysfunctional politics and lack of emphasis on civic education has, among other things, led many Americans to be highly skeptical about the very foundations of our democratic form of government. In the 1960s, amid civil rights protests and the Vietnam war, Americans were deeply divided politically, but according to the Pew Research Center, the vast majority—almost 80 percent—trusted the government to do the right thing always or most of the time. Today, less than 20 percent of the American public trusts the government. And for many young people, the idea of self-government is no longer sacrosanct. Almost one in four Americans thinks a dictator, namely a “strong leader that doesn’t have to deal with Congress or elections,” could be a good way to run our country…”

While by no means comprehensive, the “Democracy 76” list… provides specific and practical actions that we all can take to be an involved citizen. The list is broken into five actions that are essential components for engagement. It is expressly free from politics and partisanship and should be undertaken by all Americans—regardless of political perspectives or affiliation…”

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