We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, March 11. 2015
At first I considered joining, if only to share a slightly different viewpoint than the ones I'd seen posted (click and take a look). I saw comments like "Serving people & Loyalty to government" (loyalty to government? Why is this always absolutely necessary? What would Jefferson and Washington have said?). Or "Respect for Authority" (this is so wrong, I can't even think of where to begin. I'm not sure 'authority' is generated from winning a popularity contest). Then there are some really bizarre ones like "Identity, Belonging, Altruism" (not sure when being a citizen provided me an identity, helped me feel like I belonged and don't get me started on the concept of altruism).
So I figured, I'd start my own here and find out what Maggie's visitors consider citizenship to be. Here was my stab at it, the one I never posted:
To me, Citizenship is loving my country and the rights of the individual which are protected by the Constitution while questioning the nature of human authority. Acknowledge and respect individual rights while exercising individual responsibility which strengthens those rights.
What would your thoughts be?
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WRT to your comments, I thought some were a bit strange and not relating to "citizenship", but on the other hand, I was heartened that many listed responsibility. It seems that is a lost concept now a days.
Citizenship is a concept I haven't really thought about deeply enough in the past to describe it, but here's my first attempt:
Since our country is founded on a set of ideas, citizens should be very familiar with what those ideas are including why those ideas were chosen as well as the implication of those ideas. A citizen should have some allegiance to those ideas. Citizenship should not be a birthright (i.e. repeal that portion of the Fourteenth Amendment - it was meant to make freed slaves citizens anyway, not allow every mother in the world to spawn a new US citizen).
Citizenship is defined as someone who serves a city. An asset of that city. Thus my bubble is simple - slavery, consensual or otherwise.
Your reference to the Constitution led me to this definition of Citizenship: Participation in the public sphere guided and bound by the Constitution. But perhaps that, in itself, is only a subhead for an essay.
As an aside, I was at our local elementary school where I help teach science to 4th graders and noted that a recent Martin L King Day writing assignment had focused on thinking and writing about "Peace". It seemed to me the better topic would be "Freedom".
Peace is something which is unlikely globally. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't try to attain it - but we can only strive to attain it at a personal level.
Which, in order to attain it at a personal level, requires freedom.
I think the question really is "What does One Mean by Good Citizenship?"
That's a bit of a different question.
Citizenship is a legal and political relationship to a particular nation-state. That's all. As BD says, "good citizenship" -- that is, upholding the responsibilities of that relationship in this nation -- is another question entirely.
Does anyone not see where this is leading? If "citizenship" can be defined as entailing nothing more than being nice, or "belonging," or "respecting authority," then border jumpers can be citizens, too.
I didn't click the link to see the photos, because frankly the concept strikes me as being the typical juvenility that passes for thought among progressives, so I can't be sure that "inclusive" has shown up yet in one of those thought bubbles. But I bet the house it will.
I can tell you what I mean when I say that so and so is a Good Citizen or a Solid Citizen.
What I mean by this high compliment is that somebody is honorable and a good neighbor, and participates positively in the community as much as they can. That's a little vague, but I know it when I see it.
I don't think it has to be specific. Vague is good, it's more flexible.
It includes (but DOES NOT REQUIRE) responsibility. Being a 'good' citizen varies from person to person and the level of responsibility varies with the subjectivity of 'goodness'.
But I disagree with your concept that this is what is the meaning of a good citizen. I think people interpret it in this fashion, and more the better that they do - because it opens the eyes of free-thinking folk to see exactly what SKD mentioned - if you dumb it down enough, it's a meaningless term.
A Golden Rule of citizenship: Apply a standard to your own actions at least as high as the one that, if applied to everyone, would keep the system working. If you aim higher, even better.
That means, among other things, to fulfill your word when you've given it, to earn and save enough to support yourself and your dependents so others don't have to, not to steal, not to defraud, and not to foist the dangerous consequences of your own behavior (like being careless with cars, firearms or explosives) onto others. Be one of the people who can be counted on in a public emergency to organize, assist, and rebuild rather than drain the system.
Step up for those minimal jobs of self-government that keep us from falling completely in to the hands of professional bureaucrats, like holding office, even if only in minor capacities like local positions.
Remain informed about what your local, state, and national government are doing in your name.
Learn enough about different systems of government to understand the peculiar contribution of the U.S. system to the world's civilization.
Set a good example for people who don't yet understand what it means to be a good citizen.
Why hello, Ron Swanson. Nice to have you aboard.
That's a perfectly good response.
In the US, citizenship is allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and the individual rights and privileges from time immemorial the Constitution was written to put beyond government control
This puts good citizenship beyond most of us as everyone at one time or another tries in earnest or by negligence to deny individual rights up to an including even trying to usurp those enumerated.
It is also why I do not pledge allegiance to the flag. I can have but one sovereign. I do salute the flag, but my words pledge allegiance to the Constitution. The flag can to easily be confused with the government, which drapes itself in the flag to create this misapprehension.
From a social viewpoint, I would say that citizenship is actively participating in the civic life of one's country. Obeying the laws, seeking to support those you feel are just and seeking to change those that you feel are unjust (civil disobedience fits in here), debating public policy, voting, and volunteering are all part of citizenship in that context. Seeking to be as self-sufficient as possible and to help those who are through a lack of capacity (as opposed to a lack of effort) not able to support themselves is also part of citizenship.
As in the oath I have taken several times, "to faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Apart from my higher responsibility to God, that is pretty much how I view my citizenship and how I act out my life in my civic involvement and legal practice. That includes representing some folks that otherwise probably couldn't find an attorney, and taking on some unpopular causes where I felt that government action was violating the constitution.
I do also spend a lot of time doing charitable activities, but I see that as being my responsibility as a subject of the Kingdom of God, not as a citizen of the U.S.