Government, Why Bother?

Bulkeley High School students join us to talk apathy and democracy.

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Scene of the signing of the US Constitution.
Photo:Howard Chandler Christy, 1940
Seniors have been studying public polling data and brought their questions and comments to the studio.
Their main concerns: how big a problem is voter apathy? How much influence does money have in politics? Does compromise make government ineffective? Photo:Chion Wolf
Urania Petit, Hartford Registrar of Voters for the Working Families Party.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Government, Why Bother?
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Douglas Amy interview
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Government, Why Bother?
Douglas Amy interview

It seems that money and power always get in the way of democracy. Compromise can water down idealism, but no compromise results in gridlock. So, a lot of people ask, what’s government good for?

Professor Douglas Amy, author of a book called Government is Good: An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution, said, “Government really plays a vital and necessary role in our society. It’s really one of the main ways that we act collectively to address a lot of the serious social, economic, and environmental problems that we face, and that we can’t really deal with as individuals.”

But what if the “individual” feels like he or she has no say? It's something we hear a lot from young voters. How big a problem is apathy among young voters? What can we do to get people engaged - and will it make a difference?

Join us for a conversation along with special guests in studio - a civics class from Bulkeley High School in Hartford. They're in the Introduction to American Politics class, offered in conjunction with the University of Connecticut's Early College Experience program - students have the opportunity to earn both UConn and high school credit when they complete the course. We’re also joined by Urania Petit, Hartford Registrar of Voters for the Working Families Party, and Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie.

This program is part of the Community Information Hub, a collaboration of The Connecticut News Project, WNPR, and Hartford Public Library, with the support of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.