Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Are You a Good Citizen?

On July 4th, the newspaper had an article about the new (as of October 2008) naturalization test, the test required to become a U.S. citizen. The test has 100 questions, but a person would only be asked 10 of them, and they would have to answer 6 of those correctly.
The article had all of the questions, and then the answers on the next page. I found that I knew more than 10 of the answers for sure...but there were far more that I didn't know the answer to. This was no surprise to me. Politics and government have never been of too much interest to me. But as I read through the questions and answers, I became semi-concerned that this makes me a poor citizen.
So I decided to make a Independence Day Resolution.
Based on one of the questions, "What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?" (the answer I could come up with was, "...mmm, vote? and...?")
The answer given was (I've put it in list form for easier reading):
join a political party,
help with a campaign,
join a civic group,
give an elected official your opinion on an issue,
call senators and representatives,
publicly support or oppose an issue or policy,
run for office,
or write to a newspaper."

My resolution is to do one of the other things on the list (other than vote) by the next presidential election. I don't know which one yet.
Maybe joining a political party would be helpful, but even typing that is difficult for me. When the republicans were in office, I was sick of all the complaining by the non-republicans, and now that the democrats are in office, I am getting sick of all the complaining by all the non-democrats. It's hard for me to want to join a party of people who complain all the time. Allow me to quote a Grandma, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." and "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
In the past, I've voted in the presidential elections much like I cheer during the super bowl. I don't pay much attention to any of the other games throughout the season, and up until just before the big game do I even know who is playing. I really don't like it when people "boo" the opposing team.
If you must know, though, I'm batting 1000 for voting. 100% of the people I've voted for have become president of the United States.

So anyway, back to the list. Bear with me as I process and type at the same time.
I don't think I can help with a campaign (really), if I don't join a party.
I don't have a clue what a "civic group" is, so I don't know if that is an achievable goal or not.
I could potentially see myself "giving an elected official my opinion on an issue." I don't know which issue just yet though.
I doubt that I will ever call a senator or representative.
I would rather publicly support something than publicly oppose something.
If I ever run for any kind of office, it won't be before the next presidential election, so that one is out.
I may be able to pull off writing to a newspaper.

So there you have it. My road to becoming a better U.S. Citizen.
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