Monday, October 6, 2008

Citizenship and Personal Freedom

Before we get started, today is the last day in most states to register to vote. If you're in the USA, take the time to register. You can do it online in many states. Or, you can stop by a post office. Make the time to do this.

Now. We stand on the edge of an election here in The States. It's a big one. For the first time in many, many elections, a sitting president or vice president is nowhere to be found on either of the major party tickets. Or, I guess, on any of the third party tickets, come to think of it. With it being such a big election--one destined for forging a new social history no matter what the outcome--emotions are running high.

I don't want to cloud the message of this entry with a presidential endorsement: that's not the point.

With emotions as high as they are, I keep hearing this phrase over and over again: "If (candidate) doesn't win, then I'm moving to (foreign country)."

When did this trend start happening? When did the American people decide that their society was out of their control? We are not subjects to our government, but citizens of it. If you don't like your social reality, take control of it. If there's a cause or an issue that you feel strongly about, do something about it. If you're not happy with the way your government is run, take control of it.

The American people have a problem with reliance. We have come to believe that we must rely on others for our every need. We buy "ready-meals" at the store when we don't go out to eat; we are told over and over that there is not enough time in the day, enforcing our stressed notions; we are told to call AAA instead of changing our own tire; our clothes and style are prescribed to us; we medicate ourselves instead of changing the ways that we live; we let the school systems decide what is important for our kids to learn and how to learn it; we pay for TV channels and still sit through the commercials; we let other people clean our houses, park our cars, walk our dogs, and raise our kids.

Yes, no man is an island and many hands have gone into forging the world where we live. But why do we think that we can exert no control? Our commercial-driven society has no doubt contributed to that. I think our educational system, K-College, has taught us that even learning is the duty of the infrastructure. But our reliance has made us complacent. We have forgotten that we can help to forge our surroundings.

The election doesn't go the way you want? You don't agree with the direction of the current administration is going? Don't roll over and take it. Don't head out of the country. Citizenship is the responsibility of a patriot. We have a responsibility to contribute at the local, state, and national level to the creation of our society.

Stop letting everyone else create society for you. Be the maker of your own reality. Make the world more like you want it to be for your children. The country needs you.