your responsibility as an american
Matt Stoller had a beautiful post over at MyDD.com 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."