The Land of the Free
This Monday, we celebrate our nation’s independence from foreign rule and the drive of a group of passionate young men (no women, of course, being the 18th century) to determine their own fate, and that of a growing nation. They formed a democratic republic, which as someone who was born on Citizenship Day in the year of America’s bicentennial celebration, I have a very strong sense of patriotism running through me, but one that is markedly different than what some folks would call “patriotic” today.
Yes, I fly my American flag pretty much year-round, which is the full extent of some people’s idea of their patriotic duty. I have also voted in every election since I turned 18, have happily answered every jury summons (and even got to serve as the jury foreman once!), paid my taxes, have stayed informed about what is happening both locally and nationally, and have reached out to my elected officials in a calm and informed manner when I felt that adding my voice would be beneficial to issues that I have been passionate about. These are the things our country asks us to do, and it is literally the least we can do to be good citizens of this great nation that has given us so much.
Too many people these days expect all of the benefits of being an American citizen without any of the work. For example, we had an extremely low voter turnout in the recent election. Local elections have the most impact on our day to day lives and typically have the least amount of voter engagement. Voting, and being an informed voter, is our civic duty and one that every American should take seriously. Expecting rights without fulfilling our responsibilities is something that children do, and something we as parents try to curtail.
When Benjamin Franklin was asked after a session of the Constitutional Convention what kind of a government have you given us, he replied, “A democracy, if you can keep it.” Our republic is founded on the principle that it will continue only as long as the people keep democracy alive. And the way to do that is not to threaten people who hold different religious beliefs than you (or none at all), or look different than you, or have opinions that you do not hold with violence or even death. That is the antithesis of what our forefathers and every person who has sacrificed to make America the shining city on the hill that it once was and can still be.
I believe in America; the America that is a melting pot of colors, flavors, and textures that weave the fabric of our society together into a mosaic that is beautiful and complex. So please, do your basic civic duty and stop looking at your fellow Americans as the enemy and start looking at how we can work together to further this nation that we all love and cherish. And allow each person their own pursuit of liberty and happiness, even if it’s not your way. Because THAT is the American ideal that our forefathers envisioned, and that is what is possible if we all work together.
The Wildwood Independent Editor
Hello, friends, neighbors, and fellow residents of District 4. I hope the latest issue of my newsletter finds you staying cool, enjoying the last days of summer before school starts back up, and looking forward…
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