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The call for citizen involvement: It's loud, clear & important

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

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When John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Ask not what your country can do for you" inaugural speech in 1961, I wasn't alive. But I've long loved that line, as do so many others.

Not because he stressed our role as givers instead of takers. And not, honestly, because I am the wait-to-be-asked type. I'm most definitely not. But because I am one of those people who thinks that a country IS its people. That our country is shaped by us simply because we are it, and it is us.

So when I re-read that speech yesterday, lost in thought about another inauguration, 48 years later, to my surprise it was another, equally short line that struck me most. Kennedy said:

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.

And while this does sound quite a bit like President Obama's approach to date, it is not that similarity that made me appreciate this line so much - though it surely is not lost on me. Rather it is my deep sense that we - you & me - really are responsible for and capable of shaping our course.

Electing a President is, of course, just the first step. The Obama team has happily made it quite clear that we're not done. That pulling the lever at the polling booth (if you still do that in your state!) was the first step, not the last.

So after the inauguration today, let's be sure we do everything we can to chart a course toward success, toward a nation that values environmental health, especially in our smallest, most fragile babies.

If this is really in our hands, and you can call me naive but I really believe it is, let's do it! Let's pass the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act. Just like that. How? So glad you asked! You can:

  • Sign The Declaration against pre-polluted babies and for a stronger law.
  • Get on our email list so we can be in touch when critical citizen support is needed. And it will be.
  • Get in touch if you want to talk about how we can partner where you live. Email me at lisa@ewg.org.
  • Sign onto our letter of support if you're affiliated with an organization. Lots already have, but the more the merrier.
  • Host a house party to spread the word. We'll provide all the materials you need.
  • Blog about it. Tweet about it. Tell your Facebook friends about it. It may seem small, but it's not. If we all do our small part, it's suddenly not so small.

Feeling inspired? Like the solution is in your hands? That's because it is. Join us to pass Kid-Safe, and together we will chart a course to success. Because if not now, then when? And if not you, then who?