Opinion: We’re at the start of a new movement, and N.J. is leading it

Wind turbines in fog

JAMES J. FLORIO / STAR-LEDGER – To effectuate major public policy changes, it is helpful, if not essential, for a citizen movement to lead the cause. The civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, and the gay rights movement are obvious examples. Movements of this sort entail mobilizing people — real average people — to become engaged in and informed about the substantive policy direction that needs to be taken.

“Engaged in” because that’s our political system: participatory democracy. The system doesn’t work by itself, as the time it took to win those battles and others proves we have to work at making it work. Becoming informed about the policy is especially necessary today because the issues are becoming more complex and the policy alternatives so numerous. You can’t fix the problem if you don’t understand the problem …

James J. Florio was the 49th governor of the state of New Jersey.

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