Friday, April 13, 2007

your responsibility as an american

Matt Stoller had a beautiful post over at the other day.

For any person interested in politics and your role in our democracy, this is a must-read. I've excerpted part of it below but you should go and read the whole thing.

"The sickness of America belongs to every citizen of America. Every time we walk by a homeless person, or let a child go hungry, or allow an invasion of a country which causes the deaths of millions, it's our problem. We let it happen. That's what it means to be an American. We get the right to participate, but we must also take responsibility for what the polity does. This is true for other institutions as well, such as the Democratic Party. As a Democrat, I am represented by our nominee in 2008, whether I like it or not. What Senator Clinton does in that role is my responsibility, not just hers. That's what it means to be a Democrat and a citizen. You can't divorce yourself from your country or your party, and pretend that the problems we cause or let happen somehow don't belong to each of us as individuals.

This is how I see patriotism, but the consequence is very personal. I take the failures of Democratic leaders as personal failures. When they do the right thing, I take personal pride in their actions. That's what patriotic citizenship means to me; it means taking responsibility for what America does in all its aspects, while enjoying the privilege of having some incredibly tiny amount of control in affecting that outcome."

5 people who played with me:

Blogger cadiz12 said...


this is the sentiment that i try to explain to friends who only vote in the presidential election or not at all because "what difference does it make anyway?"

if we fail to keep tricksters (of any party) in check, it's only ourselves we have to blame.

cheating at elections, however, we have little control over. BUT if people would make a fuss about the fact that most of the vote-machine companies are based in texas and were contributors to the bush campaign, maybe that could have been avoided.

the media failed us on that one and so many others because it was too afraid of being labeled as "not supporting the troops."

4/13/2007 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is pretty idealistic don't you think?

I mean, this i all nice, but it's not going to ever be reality.

4/13/2007 2:03 PM  
Blogger The Stormin Mormon said...

While the sentiment is accurate, and I feel that everyone should do their best to do those things, it's a long shot to think that all Americans will someday just "start caring."

There will always be the people that are involved. That manage to research candidates, read their positions, attend Q&A's, etc...

And there will always be the other voters. That person who gets nothing but the thirty second sound bite on the TV news, and bases their decision on nothing resembling facts.

4/14/2007 11:33 AM  
Blogger Glo said...

It's the very thought that "it won't be a reality" that lets us let ourselves off the hook. We create society. By being nonchalant and passive as an individual, we say it's okay for society to be that way.

Time to wake up America. Start by setting your individual alarm clock and others will follow.

4/15/2007 8:04 PM  
Blogger daniel said...

thought provoking. Nice snippet.

4/16/2007 12:18 AM  

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