The Lack of Citizen Involvement in our Nation is a Quiet Epidemic
Increasingly, we are not living up to our responsibilities as citizens.
- Voting is one of our most important and visible responsibilities as citizens. Yet, fewer than 45% of registered voters and 35% of eligible voters usually vote.
- Most Americans try to get out of jury duty.
- Community service is often seen as a once or twice a year activity
Our lack of involvement is widespread and has profound consequesnces. Everyday we hear of government, media, school, judicial, or business actions (or inactions) that cause us concern. But we do little about them. Special interest groups step in to fill the void and now run the show — our silence is turning us into a SIGocracy, a government “of, by, and for” special interest groups. See the Democracy Death Spiral to better understand the impact of citizens not involved in their democracy.
Each nation faces economic, social, environmental, security, educational, legal, and health challenges. The solutions to these challenges are most effective when a great number of citizens are involved in making them.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke
Too many good people do nothing.
Americans Need a Broader View of Citizenship
Our view of citizenship has become skewed. We look more at our rights than our responsibilities. When individuals or special interest groups want something, they claim it is their right. And, we expect the government to take on what should be our responsibilities.
The Declaration of Independence promises “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. We have become more interested in our “pursuit of happiness” than keeping our country safe (‘life’) and free (‘liberty’). We have forgotten that if we do not fulfill our responsibilities, we will have no rights.
Most Americans see citizenship as voting, jury duty, and occasional community service. Keeping a democracy strong demands much more. We as citizens must be vigilant and involved. We must each take small actions on a day-to-day basis, let’s call them citizen actions, that help keep our democracy strong and thus the country free..
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but rather the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.
Effective citizens do simple, yet impactful things
Effective citizens do simple, yet impactful things – citizen actions – on a daily basis that keep the country free.