Well, I disagree that government is nameless and faceless.
Me, too. But 'eternal vigilance' is tough work. Not to mention being educated and informed when gov't secrecy is rampant and monies for education are evaporating rapidly.
Either one feels they owe a debt or they feel they are owned something. When the feeling of being deprived of something becomes acculturated there is little hope of clearing the debt (owed or not). Kind of hopeless ... Usually takes something catastrophic to make a significant change.
Really it does not take much effort to write a letter or two once a month to ones local representatives (provided we are talking about U.S.) and let them know what one is thinking. Besides casting an informed vote it is about the minimum effort to actually attempt to be proactive. Believe it or not they do actually read the letters (at least a staffer will) and they might even respond with more than a form letter to well written arguments. If not then they certainly don't deserve ones vote!
We the people means you and me.