JIM LEHRER: And before we go tonight, a glimpse of a "By the People" special report to air later this evening on PBS.
In November, community leaders from across the country gathered in Colonial Williamsburg. They came to draft a declaration of what it means to be an American citizen in today's world.
The project was organized by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, working with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
The citizen delegates participated in the sessions run over three days and led by NewsHour correspondents. Those sessions have now been edited into a one-hour program.
And here's a brief excerpt.
MAN: Are we looking for a sentence here? A sentence fragment would probably be OK. That is, something that can be debated on the floor of the House of Burgesses, the floor of the House of Burgesses.
WOMAN: What is it that we want to call what we're doing? A proposition? A statement?
WOMAN: I think we should call it a compact for the common good.
WOMAN: Helen doesn't like compact for the common good.
WOMAN: Oh, no, I'm fine with it.
WOMAN: Oh, good.
WOMAN: Marriage is defined as either a civic or religious/spiritual institution.
MAN: You say you have a right to clean water. Who defines what clean water is?
WOMAN: Yea or nay, how many think immigration should remain as one of our principles we want to present?
WOMAN: How many nays?
WOMAN: I just don't like the way it's...
WOMAN: All right. How many? Any nays?
WOMAN: Oh, dear.
WOMAN: OK. How many people would like to keep the word visionary? One, two, three, four, five.
WOMAN: Visionary, we're keeping.
WOMAN: No, you want it out, don't you?
WOMAN: No, no, I'm for deleting vision, and keeping visionary.
MAN: If that's the word that...
MAN: Just give me a powdered wig, baby, powdered wig and knee socks, and I'm there.
MAN: The way it was set up...
WOMAN: Yes, yes, yes. OK.
MAN: ... visionary and vision in there, which was...
MAN: The second time, instead of a vision, you could use the word goals.
MAN: I'm all right with visionary if we do that.
WOMAN: Go backward, I believe. Well, maybe not. Yes. Go backwards, I think. No.
WOMAN: ... two pages.
WOMAN: Go to the next page up.
WOMAN: Yes, maybe it's there. There we go.
WOMAN: How do we want the order to go?
WOMAN: Education is number one.
MAN: National security. If we're destroyed, education is not going to help us if we're dead.
WOMAN: All right. And, if we're not healthy, we won't exist, nor will the planet.
WOMAN: And I know that it's tough. You're not arguing that that's your...
WOMAN: Our admiration for the founders, boy.
WOMAN: We can't get to first base.
MAN: Yes, right.
MAN: Really, you were just amazing, you guys.
NATHAN BAXTER, BISHOP, EPISCOPAL CHURCH: There was a lot of passion, a lot of energy.
And I got worried at certain points that we were never going to accomplish the task. And then I realized that this was perhaps the most important part of the democratic process, is that citizens really sitting down and sharing and listening to one another and going through the whole process of moral suasion, so that we can come to a more informed decision.
ROBYN ALLEN, STUDENT: I'm sure a declaration of citizenship will emerge tomorrow from -- from our conversations and from our thinking. Even though we can't create something that will last for 100 or 200 years, I think we can give it our best shot and we can just say, here is a cross-section of Americans. Here is what we have been thinking about for a few days. And, hopefully, this will spur discussion for the coming months and years.
JIM LEHRER: The program, called "By the People: Citizenship in the 21st Century," will air on most PBS stations tonight. Please check your local listings for the time.