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Dayton's call for volunteerism on the mark

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On Jan. 3, newly elected Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton gave his inaugural address to the state, and drew some much-needed attention to the need for a renewal of the volunteer spirit in Minnesota.

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It's a good reminder that from the times of the Founding Fathers and early pioneers, helping each other has been the best way to help ourselves.

Dayton drew from a variety of sources in making his point. Two stuck out. The first was the ancient Roman Cicero, who said in a democracy, the most important office is that of citizen. The second was quoting his late friend, Paul Wellstone, who said when we all do better, we all do better.

It's something we've maybe forgotten. Somehow over the years, we have grown accustomed to thinking it's the school's job to raise our kids -- raise, not educate -- and it's the government's job to fix all of our problems.

It happens all the time: we spot a problem and say, "Someone should do something about that."

Wrong.

We should start saying, "I should do something about that," and then do it.

Dayton called for everyone to "visit the school and see its realities" and to "make that school's progress your shared responsibility." And it wasn't just about schools -- hospitals, cities and social service organizations need volunteerism, ideas and hard work too.

Let's stop complaining about the way things are headed tomorrow, or longing for the way things used to be. Let's start working on making things better today. And let's not wait for somebody else to do it.

The Pioneer Journal editorial represents the voice of the newspaper's editorial board. Today's editorial was written by Steve Schulz, editor and publisher.

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