Thursday, October 13, 2011

Being An Intentional Citizen

Today's guest post is written by my husband, Jeremy, and is the conclusion of a series on intentional living.

(Note: Terminology is going to be centered on the United States, since that's where I live, but feel free to substitute Parliment for Congress and whatnot as appropriate for your country.)

I alternatingly feel like the most and least patriotic person I know depending on my surroundings. I don't own an American flag, prefer not to say the Pledge of Alliegence, and will quite rarely defend U.S. policies compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

Don't even get me started on these jokers.

I do, however, take my obligation of citizenship very seriously. I may be a citizen by accident of birth, but it is not something I will ever take for granted or abdicate my responsibilities for as long as I live here, something I've observed far too often from so many people who have the traits I lack from the previous paragraph.

These duties are myriad, and I couldn't possibly hope to cover everything that goes with the territory of being a good citizen (nor do I do well all the time). At the risk of getting all JFK on ya, ask yourself if you do these things for your country...

Voting: Do I vote at all? Do I vote in odd-numbered years? Do I vote in school elections or primary elections as well as general elections? For all of the above, do I do my best to be informed about each candidate? Can I name my Congressman? What about my County Legislator? Do I understand what each elected official's role in government is? Do I think critically about each race, or do I vote strictly on party lines? If voting on party lines, is it for an appropriate cause, or do I apply my preferences on national issues to local races in positions where they would not have authority to effect that kind of change? Have I ever donated to or volunteered for a political campaign? Have I ever considered voting for a third party candidate? Have I ever considered running for office myself?

Being Informed: Do I stay abreast of the goings-on at all levels of government? Do I get my information from people I know or other sources? If it's from people I know, do I check their facts to ensure they haven't been misinformed themselves? If it's from other sources, are they reputable? Do my news sources all tend to be biased the same way? Do I try to understand alternate viewpoints? Have I ever changed my mind about any political issue? If the answer to that is "no" or "not recently", do I think it's because I really have it all figured out, or because I'm not actually listening to all sides?

Advocacy: Have I ever contacted my representative about something (click-to-sign Internet petitions do not count)? Have I ever attended a local board meeting? Do I raise concerns to the appropriate people to effect change, or do I just complain to anyone who will listen? If an issue is important to me, do I do anything constructive at all?

Respect: Do I demonize those who disagree with me politically? Do I assume that people with different philosophical viewpoints are intentionally trying to sabotage our way of life? Do I prefer anarchy to compromise? Have I ever yelled at anyone over a political policy that's beyond my control and theirs? When discussing issues, do I look for common ground or try to be divisive?

Accountability: Do I obey laws? If there are laws I break, why do I break them? Do I violate only the laws I find morally objectionable, or do I break laws out of convenience, self-benefit or apathy? If it's on moral grounds, is that honestly the real reason, or is that what I tell others and myself to justify it? Do I cheat on my taxes? If I get pulled over for breaking a traffic law, do I blame myself or the police officer?

Does the flag on my porch make me a patriot, or do my actions make the flag redundant?

 I bet none of these kids even voted.

Jeremy is proud to be an American, where at least he knows he's free, and he won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to him, and he'll proudly stand up next to you and defend her still today, cause there ain't no doubt he loves this land... 

Well, maybe not all of that. But if you enjoyed this post, or at least didn't hate it, you might enjoy his blog, which so far has 99% fewer pictures of Peter, but infinitely more posts about both Rick Perry and Hugh Jackman than Working to be Worthy does.

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