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with the American Revolution. It was agitators who democratized The Decla- ration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It also took agita- tors to form the suffragist, antislavery, populist and labor movements—and later, the civil rights, women’s and envi- ronmental movements.


It takes people willing to stand up to the establishment and say, “No.”


How can we individually or collectively work to improve the world?


First of all, assess your own values and what matters to you. If you think there’s something that strikes you as particu- larly unfair or not right or that could be done better, then look at that and begin to build on what you really care about. Inform yourself and then look


around in your own area. It’s likely there is someone working on the very issue that bothers you. You’ve got to reach out to make those connections through places like your church, local groups and independent bookstores.


How do we create a govern- ment truly of, by and for the people?


Democracy is not a quick fix; it requires a lot of citizen involvement, and you’ve got to find ways to become a part of that. You can’t do it alone. I often talk about Harrell’s Hardware


store, in Austin. They’ll loan you a tool to take home for a project or sell you two nails. Their slogan is, “Together We Can Do It Yourself,” and this is exactly the operating principle of a progressive movement. We can’t do it ourselves—it takes all of us together, as like-minded people of goodwill. The possibility of self- government comes from this.


For more information, visit JimHightower.com.


Ellen Mahoney teaches writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Email evm@infionline.net.


natural awakenings October 2010 17


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