Have You Done Your Civic Duty?

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This came to mind just before Independence Day and I was really feeling good about it. Then the computer went down for a week. Now I read a blog that elicited much comment and debate about God, liberals, conservatives, democrates, republicans, even the idiosyncrasies of our founding fathers. Although viewpoints are a wonderful thing and that free speech is one of our must cherished laws, I saw much disconnect and no commonality. Then I read a piece today from Ronald Maxwell and I felt good again. I think our commonality is civic duty.

I heard this term frequently growing up in the 50's and 60's but at the end of the 60's it seemed to die out. I would get it from scouting, teachers, parents, policemen, firemen, politicians; you name it. Now I never questioned my civic duty as it was told to me because common sense has always been my motivation (with God's help, of course). But recently I wondered why I don't here it anymore and I think it is because people don't understand what it is or how to perform it. If you don't know what your civic duty is, well, I'm going to tell you.

To stay neutral on this definition, I am going to give you Webster's version: 2. of or pertaining to citizenship; civil: civic duties. 3. of citizens; civic pride.

What that means to me is that being citizens of these United States carries a responsibility. The resposibility only lasts as long as you are a citizen of these United States (using our country as an example) or until you die. If you say to me that you have DONE your civic duty then I say to you that you have failed. If you say to me that you will do A civic duty then I say to you that you aren't worthy of citizenship. It not a duty done once or occasionally but at every turn and aspect of your life. It is ongoing and never fullfilled.

Civic duties can be joining military service, helping your neighbor and/or community, giving your time and skills for the benefit of all to enjoy. It is policing your own house and the political house of your town, county, state and country. It is your duty to fight the injustices of our society and make the laws of the land enforced equally and without predjudice. There is so much more and I will leave that for you to dwell on.

America is unique is this world because of the laws we created that gave us our civil liberties. These laws are for our citizens and no one else. That is why people come to this country to become citizens-to have this uniqueness that we provide. We must not get lax in our duties or allow outside influence corrupt and erode what we have and stand for.

We have basic priciples that we are suppose to build on. I don't care about the private lives of those that enacted our laws. The important purpose is to uphold the laws as dear as your children. Children. I can see a generation and a half where it is basically unknown what civic duty means. We have neglected it for too long and now we are reaping the rotten fruit. Teach our children. Teach each other. This is the commonality of all citizens of these United States. Have pride. Do your civic duty every day before it is too late.

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9 Comments

stay puft marshmallow man said:

I like your rant.

I think what all the folks here have in common is a belief that government types are full of crap and that it's important to try to see through it. I think that's a very American attitude...

could have done with out the "rotten fruit" bit at the end. Maybe our power and influence isn't totally unrivaled in the world, but that's a good thing; Competition is in our blood! ...Empire isn't.

We're still leaders in all the categories. You don't have to be The Preeminent Global Power to be the Greatest Country. We have a strong economy, a dynamic society, and a vibrant culture that both changes and is changed by the world we live in, the people who come to America, and the places that Americans are able to go.

so what's so rotten about all that?

I think "rotten" refers to the latest crops of youths, who are claimed to not have the same sense of civic duty. In an overall sense I think this is true, although I can testify we were raising some serious slackers back in the 70s.

From what I have learned second hand, the observation about the 60s bringing changes for the worse sounds pretty accurate with regard to the civic duty idea.

My only change to that would be that after 70, 80 or 90 years, when time ravages the best of us, a person's civic duty is done, and it becomes the civic duty of those who are still in their prime to emulate what that 80 year old has done. My father is 85 this year. He is living in a retirement community. He lives in independent housing, but there is an assisted living, and full nursing care facility there as well. He goes up to the "old people's" home (that now has mostly people younger than him) to help out with activities to keep them supple of mind and body. The "old folks" look forward to his coming. If he gets to the point of not being able to do for others *ever* in his life, he will have earned the right to say he has done his civic duty.

Here, here. Your dad sounds pretty amazing.

Jack said:

My grandfather volunteered in a hospital until he died at 92!

ACTivist said:

Brian, I will concede to a third option. That of being able to perform civic duties until mind and/or body no longer allow. Thank you for that insight and my hat's off to your dad. That is exactly the kind of things I am talking about.

Stay puft, it is not the way the country is performing today but the generation that will soon be at the reigns. Things take time to take hold before they show a detrement. I don't want to admit that the "rotten fruit" is inclusive of my children but there is only so much that they are willing to accept nowadays. This is the society of our times. Pretty much be "nice" and almost anything goes. We definitely need a major turn-around before it goes too far and in some instances, it already has.

stay puft said:

ok, I guess griping about "kids these days" is also part of one's civic duty.

Jack said:

"Jesus, Jesus, what's it all about?
Trying to clout these little ingrates into shape.
When I was their age all the lights went out,
There was no time to whine and mope about."

Pink Floyd, The Hero's Return

ACTivist said:

Griping,no. Educating and establishing a good foundation of which to take off and grow, yes. Like trees bearing fruit, if the soil is wrong or not cared for, you get bad fruit. Our civic duty to educate them with what has worked before us. Their civic duty to maintain and keep it as well as pass it on.

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