The normally cool Obama and his top staffers are a bit off stride and noticeably panicking. In his increasingly annoying and halting monotone he assured us that [the government] wasn’t listening to our phone calls. And just in case that less than comforting statement didn’t work for you he also claims that the spying program has thwarted terror plots on our behalf. It wasn’t clear if these were the plots invented by the FBI and their informants, but I digress. Raising the specter of terror has become the last refuge of scoundrels.The author then explains what she means by a "litmus test".
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up