This spring, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-13) and Greater Media Newspapers co-sponsored an essay contest, "What Good Government Means to Me," for eighth-graders in the 13th Legislative District. More than 150 students submitted entries for the contest. The first-place winner was Adam Van Handel, from Ms. Eisen's class at Carl Sandburg Middle School, Old Bridge. The second-place award went to Charles Gunningham from Mrs. Grieco's class at Joseph R. Bolger Middle School, Keansburg, and the third-place award went to Monica Bastawros from Mrs. Carey's class at Hazlet Middle School. Below, we are reprinting Adam Van Handel's essay. We offer our congratulations to all who entered.
Abraham Lincoln explained government well in his Gettysburg Address. A good government should be "Of the people, by the people and for the people."
A government is meant to rule the people so there isn't anarchy and chaos. However, the people, for their sake, should control the same government. A government that is not connected to its people is a government ripe for disaster. Marie Antoinette, for example, ruled but did not know who she was actually ruling. She did not understand that they were starving. She was not connected to her people and her people made her pay for her ignorance.
People should not fear the government; the government should fear the people. A government that uses tyranny and fear to control its citizens is not a good government. The government should know that it only has the power the people gave it and that the people can also take that power away. With this knowledge, the government should do what is right for its people because it fears the people taking its power away.
The government needs to know what its citizens want, in order to concede to their wishes. A people-fearing government should desire to discover its citizens' wishes at any cost. Therefore, it should respond to most, if not all letters and e-mails it receives. Such a response will make the...
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