The morning after the city of Boston came together to celebrate the World Champion Red Sox, former U.S. Senator William "Mo" Cowan took the podium at Suffolk University’s Sargent Hall.
A part of the university’s Moakley Forum series, Cowan told listeners that although many people are not happy with the way government is working right now, Congress could follow the Red Sox's lead and go from “worst to first” in the eyes of its fan base.
In his discussion, "Leading Congress into Order: Stalemate is not an Option,” Cowan stressed that the American citizens have the ability to choose who serves them. If they are dissatisfied with the people they chose, then four years later, they can choose again. He said the key to improving government is for the people to actually use the power they have as citizens.
“Every day of our lives, we are obligated to pay attention to the work of the people we hired to represent us in government,” Cowan said. “This places on us an unyielding burden to be active participants in the governance of our lives.”
He emphasized that when people are detached from and uninterested in what’s going on in the government, or when they don’t even know who their representatives are, there is no incentive for them to do what the public wants.
He said that just like people communicate and remain in touch with their bosses or CEOs in the workplace, American citizens should do the same with the parties that govern them.
“Government is not a separate and distinct entity that exists wholly apart from the rest of us and the rest of our lives and our existence,” Cowan explained. “It is of us; it represents us. It should answer to your needs, and it will as long as we hold up our end of the part.”
Cowan left those in attendance with a challenge to become more active political citizens. He said that government is only going to be as effective as the people we choose to send there.
“Congress is like most other organizations,” he said. “There’s an old saying, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil.’” Cowan encouraged the audience to be “the squeaky wheel.”
“The reality is, if we really want to see things change in Washington, [we have to pay attention],” he concluded.