Why do I write? My newsletter, Citizenship Politics, and my books Becoming a Citizen Activist and Student Power, Democracy and Revolution in the Sixties, encourage readers to think of themselves as “citizens” of a democratic government. A citizen is
much more than the narrow legal terms that define some as ill-legal aliens.
A citizen is someone who recognizes the duties and responsibilities of being an American. It goes beyond paying taxes and registering with the government. A citizen’s core value should be to preserve the Union of us all. It does not demand that we all think or act alike but that those values protect our freedoms and liberties.
To sustain our democratic republic Americans must understand that it is not a static institution. It will adjust gradually over time to adapt to changes in demographics, technology, and climate, to name just a few critical forces.
A republic’s longevity is not a virtue if it is not democratic. Although the Roman Republic lasted 500 years, it was not a democracy. Women Roman citizens could not vote, and up to 30% of the population were slaves.
Just calling a nation a republic or democratic is not enough to create a democratic society. To achieve a fulfilling life for individuals at all stages of life or income, they must share values. Those values must assure that individuals have the right to pursue their life free of prejudice in their work, social life, education, and religion.
America is the longest-surviving democratic republic in history that has extended full citizenship to women, formerly enslaved people, non-property owners, and immigrants. Still, we had the Civil War to determine if we would be a union of states free of slavery. Even afterwards, not all citizens were equal in treatment by the government or society.
The future of any government or nation is shaped by its people. It will decline or prosper, vanish completely, or continue indefinitely. I wish to promote mutual respect for all in our country, so that we may continue to hold the values of liberty and justice that created it. That is the purpose of my writing.
I ask for your support in this effort by tapping the Patreon tab.