09/04/09 — Engaged public: All it takes to stir up Americans is messing with their country

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Engaged public: All it takes to stir up Americans is messing with their country

Perhaps all is not lost after all.

After years of hearing how disconnected and disinterested the American people are in their government -- and wondering why so few of them vote -- politicians seem to have gotten their answer.

American citizens are willing to sit back and watch until someone starts messing around with the core values they see as the hallmarks of their country.

And then, they take an interest in making sure the directions politicians take are in keeping with the promises they made -- and the heritage of the country they swore to protect.

So while the debate over health care might seem like an unlikely spot for a revolution, the reaction by Democrats and Republicans to the proposals suggest that the electorate's definition of "change" might not be in keeping with that of the current administration.

And after weeks of battles, it seems that someone in Washington is getting the message to slow down, tone it down and do it right.

Perhaps this is the wake-up call so many Americans needed. Busy with their own lives, they have entrusted the care of their nation first wholesale to one party, and then to the other. They did not pay attention while many of the decisions were made -- and only complained afterward about the direction in which the nation was headed.

Not this time.

The health care debate -- and the concerns raised by many about the country's direction -- suggest that more people are paying attention.

And that is a very good development -- no matter who is in charge.

Published in Editorials on September 4, 2009 10:36 AM