I especially appreciated, “Elected officials don’t run our government. Government employees do. Every citizen interested in changing our country must understand this.”
Even though it’s a British satire (which is pretty accurate from where I sit in Canada), people might want to rent, borrow, or buy copies of “Yes Minister” to watch. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/yesminister/index.shtml
From the series description:
The series follows Right Honorable James Hacker MP, Minister for Administrative Affairs, and his attempts to make officialdom and administration make sense. He does this whilst pushing his own self-serving agenda, and keeping his head above any nasty political waters. Throughout his career, he’s up against Whitehall’s Sir Humphrey Appleby, unflappable symbol of a machine that has no gears, only brakes.
Ladies and gentlemen (those of you who plan to change government for the better): whether UK, Continental, Canadian, or — gasp! — American, the Sir Humphreys of the world are your target. They or their mindset are both the strongest resistance to change, as well as the weakest link in terms of actually effecting change. :-)
And please, don’t ignore the local level of government!! While many people naturally gravitate toward the senior levels of government (state-provincial and/or federal), I’d add that we the people can make a big difference at the municipal / city government level, *especially* by taking an interest in urbanism, city planning, and infrastructure funding issues.
This in turn translates into huge policy decisions at the senior levels, in particular given today’s pressing concerns around eco-footprinting, climate change, rising gas prices, and how best to maximize resource use. (Hint: cities are more efficient than sprawling suburbs.)
A keyword that unites all those concerns might well be “livability,” which integrates economic, design (urban planning, architecture, transportation), and policy issues.
Ok, thanks for the podium — end of sermon/ rant! :-)