"We Get the Government We Deserve" Why Many of Us are No Longer Citizens!
Author Richard Haass argues, “We get the government and the country we deserve. Getting the one we need, however, is up to us.”
Do you consider yourself a citizen of the United States of America?
Have you even thought about it?
Or do you consider yourself an "individual" that lives in a place called America?
This is an important question.
The why is because from from the bottom up in our society people have in large numbers stopped volunteering to each other and people in their community.
(Here is the Census Bureau report: Volunteering in America: New U.S. Census Bureau, AmeriCorps Research)
According to this survey only 23% formally volunteered, an all time low.
We know the mitigating factors with the pandemic and the economy but the reality is our civic involvement has been falling for years.
Do You Know Your Nation?
It's not expected for the citizens of any given nation to know a lot about its history. Yet we should have a basic understanding.
By histories standards America is an outlier, a fluke. Many people in the world would give anything to be an American citizen.
First of all do you know what state you are in? Don't laugh some people do not. Do you know anything about the formation and history of your state? Anything?
Beyond that do you know anything about the history of America?
Many people don't and many don't care.
The 10 Obligations
Richard Haass describes 10 obligations essential for surviving the current political crisis: being informed, rejecting violence, promoting the common good, respecting government service, valuing norms, and placing the country and U.S. democracy above party and person. All of these attitudes are meant to help balance the country’s commitment to such rights as freedom of speech and the right to privacy, which have become increasingly divisive and, detrimental to democracy.
Some of the obligations like learning the country’s history, can be encouraged by legislation to require public education to teach civics.
Most of these obligations require that we the citizens behave responsibly.
Sadly many of us are anything but responsible.
We whine, we complain, we are divisive and selfish.
The book is an appeal for people to embrace their better selves.
Can we, will we?
The Bill of Obligations by Richard Haass
Video from Council on Foreign Relations
"CFR President Richard Haass discusses his new book, The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens, with Juju Chang. In The Bill of Obligations, Richard Haass argues that the very idea of citizenship must be revised and expanded. Haass introduces ten obligations that are essential for healing our divisions and safeguarding the country’s future. Through an expert blend of civics, history, and political analysis, this book illuminates how Americans can rediscover and recover the attitudes and behaviors that have contributed so much to this country’s success over the centuries. Richard Haass President, Council on Foreign Relations Juju Chang Coanchor, Nightline, ABC News." from video introduction
The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens by Richard Haass (link)
In a similar vein Victor Davis Hanson discusses The Dying Citizen
Victor Davis Hanson Diagnoses The Dying Citizen
Video from Hoover Institution
"Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution. His new book is The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America. As is typical whenever Dr. Hanson joins us, this interview covers a wide spectrum of topics and references, including the Acts of the Apostles, immigration, Jim Crow laws, primary tribal identities, the suburban everyman, the shrinking middle class, and JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. It’s a bracing conversation with a scholar who has an incredible breadth of interests and knowledge.' from video introduction
The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America by Victor Davis Hanson (link)