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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/15/18

What the hell is a "public citizen"? Only tin & nuts needed to assemble?

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Stop now and go directly to the OpEd comment section on this page!

In the comment section: 1) Jot down your meaning for the words "public citizen."

2) Answer these questions: Have you heard of an organization titled "Public Citizen?"? If so, how?

Make better citizen-driven legislation
Make better citizen-driven legislation
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Tin Men... Do Something
Tin Men... Do Something
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Now, return and read the rest of this OpEd...

Recently, I googled what is a "public citizen?"

Most of the time, the answer revolved around, "Public Citizen is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1971 by Ralph Nader and currently run by its president Robert Weissman. It fights "for openness and democratic accountability in government, for the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts; for clean, safe and sustainable energy sources; for social and economic justice in trade policies; for strong health, safety and environmental protections; and for safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs and health care."

Does fighting for those issues make one "a public citizen"? Does that make Public Citizen's (PC) 400,000 members, 0.12% of the nation's 325,000,000, public citizens?

If so, then I am among this elite PC corps, self-recruited shortly after Nader's first book, Unsafe at Any Speed, and after the auto industry failed to sully Nader's reputation by planting hookers in his path, which prompted Nader's boomerang lawsuit that provided foundational funding for today's Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizen.

Ralph Nader builds citizens...
Ralph Nader builds citizens...
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Are those who honorably serve in our active 1.1 and reserve 1.4 million military, and Veterans for Peace organizations, or .77% of the nation, public citizens?

Are those like Sister Joan Chittister "public citizens", who lives her belief that:

Our morality, in fact, depends on what we do for the poor, the elderly, the children, the men who find themselves caught in an industrial-era job in a computer-era world, the women without health care to sustain them, without day-care services to enable them to raise their children, without the equal pay, the decent pay -- not the minimum pay -- it takes to support a child, and without the government aid it takes to have a life, have the medical care they need and get an education that will get all of them out of the pit into which they have fallen while we all, citizens and government alike, uphold them as they climb.

Joan Chittister Life is not meant to be a burden. Life is not a problem to be solved. It is a blessing to be celebrated
Joan Chittister Life is not meant to be a burden. Life is not a problem to be solved. It is a blessing to be celebrated
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In my five+ decades of adult life, I've come to question whether this elite PC corps is too elite. Are there enough other public citizens working to bring dignity and health to the world's 7+ billion? As the richest and most militarized nation in the world, are our public policies becoming smarter or dumber?

If we had more citizens doing humanitarian and enlightening public service, would we implement more effective and less costly public policies at home and abroad that would provide the hands-up development that produces more sustainable fishermen and builds more health and dignity worldwide?

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Dwayne served in the Peace Corps in the slums of Mumbai, India, worked several Habitat Projects, and was on the start-up team of the California Conservation Corps. He has a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, has been a builder, teacher, (more...)
 

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