CITIZEN POWER: A People's Platform by Senator Mike Gravel

CITIZEN POWER: A People's Platform

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During this long season of electoral bombast it becomes increasingly difficult to approach issue books by politicians without weariness aforethought. The genre usually yields so little and the temptation is to dismiss out-of-hand. With that crotchety admission duly recorded, it would have been gratifying to report that Senator Gravel (D.--Alaska) has produced an exception. Citizen Power is simply another well-intentioned but hackneyed statement by a national legislator with a spongy plan to lead America out of or back to the wilderness, depending on how you read it (cf. Senator Ribicoff's America Can Make It below). Gravel offers a ""people's platform"" calling for populist reform, this year's favorite chant on the hustings, which would provide ""balanced political power"" between the people and government and business interests. Specific proposals include efforts (this is murky) to publicly subsidize political candidates, abolish the voter registration requirement, establish election day as a national holiday ""to solemnize the occasion,"" formulate a New Internationalism underpinned by foreign policy benevolence and assured by withdrawing American military forces around the world, create a welfare rather than a warfare state (featuring the Citizen's Wage -- a birthright guarantee of $5000 per family), Naderize the corporate structure, socialize health care, equalize educational opportunity, humanize the penal system, flower-powerize the government, etc. This is all very nice and young Senator Gravel strikes one as also very nice -- sincere too. But the only hard value of his book is that it tells his constituents where he stands. He should have called a press conference.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1972
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston