At the time of America’s founding, the notion of civic duty was commonplace. Our entire system was predicated on the idea that citizens would take an active role in the governance of their towns, states, and country. Little was asked of Americans other than self-governance, jury duty, fighting wars when necessary, protecting the homeland, and living by the rule of law. In time, Americans were additionally “asked” to forfeit a portion of the fruits of their labor to foot the bills the government would incur.
Over the years, we have handed off most of our self-governing and civic duties to others. As the Founders anticipated, we elect town council members and state and federal legislators to “represent” us. But all too often, we leave the voting booth, brush our hands together, and go back to our normal lives thinking we are done…until the next election. In the meantime, we relinquish considerable power and control over our lives to the very people who are supposed to be working for us.
We have so completely shirked our personal and civic responsibilities that we have inadvertently created a class of professional politicians. With the economic and personal stakes being so high for these professional politicians, the legislation they enact is often compromised, and their re-election campaigns are motivated more by what’s good for the incumbent than by what’s good for the People.
Ronald Reagan — whom conservatives love to quote — spoke often about the risks attached to apathy and lack of participation.
Let us be sure that those who come after will say…we did everything that could be done.”
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”
Freedom … must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it was once like where men were free.
There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We’re at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind … and … if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record … that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.
Americans have faced many forks in the road, and it comes as no surprise that this is another “time to choose.” Do I stay home or get involved? Do I set aside time in the next six months to help a candidate or watch the returns on TV? Do I go to my country home every weekend or postpone it so that I can GOTV? Do I go for my jog when the Tea Party is happening or do it earlier in the day? Do I make some phone calls to support a Senate candidate or chat with friends over coffee?
Otherwise, as Lincoln said, “To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”