Citizenship, especially here in the United States of America, is comprised of rights and responsibilities that all citizens have equally. Rights that United States citizens have include the freedom to express ourselves, fair trial by jury, vote in elections for public officials, and run for elected office. Whereas Citizens also hold responsibilities like supporting and defending the Constitution, staying informed on issues that affect us individually and our community, participate in our local communities, and defend the country if needed. These components make up the responsibilities and duties of being a citizen entails. Being a citizen also means being respectful other’s right to expression and generally being civil when discussing or debating issues or topics. Most importantly, every citizen has the power to run for some sort of elected position. Government positions are not necessarily for those with power or money, there are no monetary or societal status requirements to run for an elected position.
Having a representative democracy like ours in America allows ordinary citizens to become engaged in political issues and voice their opinions freely. We’ve allowed free and open discussions with anyone and everyone in recent history and there plenty of different modes of communication in modern times. Having new inventions often shift our culture and our understanding of the world around us. Today with the advent and mainstream accessibility of the internet, communication around the globe is almost instantaneous compared to what was previously used. Whether that is telephone or telegraph lines or even in the old fashion days, written forms of communication being transferred and ran across the globe. With information being so close to our fingertips on mobile devices, we often forget to interact with that information. We can make a change on issues around us affecting our community and better our community and surroundings.
Our cultural perspectives lead us to believe that only the powerful or rich in our society can make changes to our surroundings and governmental laws. However, this is not case, as citizens we should be looking and reflecting on ourselves to make these changes possible. In Soul of a Citizen, chapter 8 Village politics a point is made about how some communities are inherently easier to approach, mainly because of the smaller scale. By challenging others around us we can build more connections between others and raise important issues. “Each neighborhood, business, fraternal organization, or church group represents a potentially fertile field for public discussion…When we use these networks to promote humane social visions we can build on existing bonds of human conviviality and connection….” (200). Small ordinary citizens can have lasting impact on others around us and potentially have a majority agree with a specific issue or idea.
While the internet is a great form of communication, it still has its draw backs. Most the information on the internet is found in some sort of textual format. Removing ourselves from the flow and rhythm of speech and often leads to wrong interpretations. The ultimate form of communication is still meeting face to face with others. To build better trust and understanding it often requires us to get out of comfort zones and attach faces to names. As Soul of a Citizen describes modern times by continually needing to meet people and engage with others around rather than the anonymity of online interactions. “’Then someone actually called me. I was just so surprised because people almost don’t do that anymore. It’s easier to get involved when you’re actually talking with another person’” (221). The internet is a vital piece for gather or organizing information and people, however as individuals we still need be engaged with actual communities around us. Just as our responsibilities of being a citizen state that we should at least attempt to do.