What Isn’t Government For?

Photo by Tom Ray/Flickr

Throughout this election year KQED has been reporting on the responsibilities of government and the role it plays in the lives of Americans. We’ve spoken to young voters about their opinions of government for our “Voices of Young Voters” project; we’ve shared KQED listeners’ thoughts on government through our essay series, Perspectives; and this spring we asked you what you wanted from your elected officials.

It’s part of our effort to explore the question of what is government for. That’s the theme for our election coverage this year, and it’s a topic that was discussed again this morning on KQED’s Forum.

But of course, that’s not the only question voters will be considering when they head to the polls Nov. 6. They’ll also be thinking about what government shouldn’t be doing.

So we decided to see what our Facebook followers thought government isn’t for.

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Perspective: Has Government Helped You?

Redwood City resident Suzanne Sellers Chowla said she has a long list of ways in which she’s been helped by government.

California's capitol

Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be without a single one of the things … that government provides,” she said, responding to a question recently posted on Facebook by KQED News in conjunction with Perspectives, our listener-essay radio series.

Perspectives is airing first-person accounts in advance of the November election about politics, government and the future of the country. As part of that series we asked our Facebook followers for their thoughts: Why is government important? Is it doing too much or too little?

We received a few comments; the most comprehensive was Chowla’s, who said government has assisted her with her education, protected her right to freedom of religion and speech, and ensured she can get health insurance if she loses her job, among a list. It has set aside parks and open spaces that she enjoys. Continue reading