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Bob Graham's Call to Service45:09
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Former Senator Bob Graham of Florida testifies on Capitol Hill on Dec. 11, 2008. (AP)
Former Senator Bob Graham of Florida testifies on Capitol Hill on Dec. 11, 2008. (AP)

Here’s a paradox. We hear a lot these days about populism. But as former Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham points out, real participation in politics — especially by young Americans, and especially in local politics — remains dismally low.

Graham cites a lot of reasons. Civics courses, if they’re taught at all, are boring. Our media and political parties aren’t doing enough. And the only way to learn how to participate, he says, is to try it out for yourself.

So he’s written a how-to guide. This hour, On Point: Senator Bob Graham and his “owner’s manual” for American democracy.

You can join the conversation. Are you involved in your town hall meetings, or did you throw your hands up long ago? How much do you know about how your local, state and federal governments work?

You can join the conversation. What's your story of friendship through the years? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.Guests:

Joining us from Miami, Florida, is former Senator Bob Graham. He represented Florida as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005 and was governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987. He’s now chairman of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism and also chairs the Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. His new book is "America, The Owner's Manual: Making Government Work For You."

Joining us from Leesburg, Virginia, is Lori Waters, member of the Board of Supervisors for Loudoun County, VA, representing the Broad Run District. She is also former executive director of the Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group founded by Phyllis Schlafly in 1967.

This program aired on April 23, 2009.

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