A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 09, 2013
“Democracy is not a spectator sport”

"Democracy is not a spectator sport” is a saying that is often used in politics to encourage people to participate, whether by voting, by donating money, or by other means. The saying was used in the booklet “Your Child’s Health and Fitness” (1962), written by Charles A. Bucher, professor of education at New York University.

The League of Women Voters has used “Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport” in its educational materials since at least 1976.


13 February 1962, The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH), “Total fitness needed” (editorial), pg. 5, col. 1:
“Democracy is not a spectator sport. It is a game where all of us are particpants—and today’s life and death struggle demands total effort on the part of all. This requires total fitness.”

Those words were written by Charles A. Bucher, professor of education at New York University, for a booklet on “Your Child’s Health and Fitness,” prepared by the American Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, a department of the National Education Association.

4 April 1962 The Oregonina (Portland, OR), “Hatfield Answers Critic in Lewis-Clark Appearance,” pg. 4, col. 2:
First, he (Oregon Governor Mark Hatfield—ed.) said, must come realization by more people that democracy “is not a spectator sport.”

22 January 1974, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “Powell Asks ‘Faith” by Gary Robertson, pg. B-3, cols. 1-2:
LEXINGTON—Supreme Court Justics Lewis F. Powell Jr. called here Monday for a “renewal of optimism and faith in our country...and a wiser perspective of history.”
(...)
Noting that “democracy is not a spectator sport,” Powell declared, “this is no time for spectators on the sideline. It is certainly no time for pessimism and continued self flagellation.”

13 December 1976, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “Women Voters Plan Coffee,” pg. A-12, col. 5:
The League of Women Voters of the Richmond Area will hold a membership drive coffee from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 22 at the home of Mrs. R. E. Kitchen, 2819 Seminary Ave.

The drive is part of the league’s observance of League of Women Voters Government Week. This week’s slogan is “Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Democracy is not a spectator sport
Author: League of Women Voters (U.S.)
Publisher: New York : League of Women Voters, 1978.
Edition/Format: Film : Film Visual material : English

Google News Archive
25 October 1986, The Spokesman-Review/Spokane Chronicle (Spokane, WA), “Idaho’s Close Senate Race Keeps Candidates Moving” by David Newman, pg. B7, col. 2:
“Representative democracy is not a spectator sport.”
(Senator Steve Symms—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
From the grass roots - citizens in government : because democracy is not a spectator sport
Author: League of Women Voters of Michigan.; League of Women Voters of Michigan. Education Fund.
Publisher: Lansing, MI : LWV Education Fund, 1992.
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Democracy is not a spectator sport : the ultimate volunteer handbook
Author: Arthur Blaustein; Helen Matatov
Publisher: New York : Skyhorse Pub., ©2011.
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The people speak : democracy is not a spectator sport
Author: Colin Firth; Anthony Arnove; David Horspool
Publisher: Edinburgh : Canongate, 2013.
Edition/Format: Book : English

The Christian Science Monitor
Cory Booker the favorite for NJ Senate seat, but still has a race to win
The death of US Senator Frank Lautenberg has set off a scramble to fill the seat via a primary election in August and a special election in October. On Saturday, Newark Mayor Cory Booker entered the race.

By Mark Trumbull, Staff writer / June 8, 2013
(...)
“Democracy is not a spectator sport, [and] now as much as in any time, we must bring people together,” he (Corey Booker—ed) said. “We must get actually into the complicated difficult messy arena and take on the difficult challenges, work in uncommon ways with conviction and courage.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, June 09, 2013 • Permalink