INTRODUCTION

The Heartbeat of Democracy

Your vote is the most important part of the American commons.

The commons embrace those realms that we all own and jointly administer through our government. They include our air and water; our roads and skyways; the frequency spectrum we use for communication, radio, and television; our public school system; our military, police, and fire departments; the agencies we use to ensure the safety and quality of our food and medications; the systems and laws that keep people playing the game of business within legal boundaries; our jails and prisons; our oceans and public lands; and our social safety net—among other things.

In this era of rapid climate change, our atmosphere and oceans, which absorb 95 percent ...

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