THE DUTYOF A CITIZENOF ACONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC
By virtue of birth and as individual members of humanity, our first responsibility is to ourselves and to our loved ones. It is a law of nature that humans are instinctually programmed to seek self-preservation. However, since emotions are an essential component of being human, we tend to be driven towards more than just basic survival. Besides nutrition and shelter, we also seek safety and security, love and friendship and other higher levels of satisfaction and happiness. It is for these reasons that humans are not satisfied to live the reclusive lives of hermits.
Over the centuries that humans have inhabited the earth, they have formed a multitude of different forms of social organization. Societies have been organized on the basis of the will of gods, monarchs, dictators, and so on. A Republic is one of the few societal structures that allows for individual freedom and still keeps order on the basis of agreed upon law, or that is how it is supposed to work. The difficulty arises over what the people being governed agree on as law and justice. The advantage of a Constitutional Republic over a Democracy is that under a Constitutional Republic the majority may not simply vote away the legitimate rights of a minority based upon a whim. They must follow the dictates of the Constitution and follow the law. In fact, certain rights are held to be inalienable so that even amendments to the Constitution may not eliminate their exercise.
The United States system of government can be described as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. What this means is that the one ingredient essential to the success of our system of government is “the people”. When the people fail to properly participate in their own governance, a Constitutional Republic can no longer succeed. That is what has happened in the United States. The people have failed to participate.
Some citizens of the United States seem to believe that they have performed their duty to the Republic by going to the polls to vote. That is certainly part of the responsibility of being a citizen of this nation, but it is not sufficient. Our founders selected a representative method for governing ourselves through surrogates, but this is not a “set it and forget it” responsibility. If we expect our congress members and senators to properly represent us, we have an obligation to voice our opinions to them on a regular basis.
There has been a lot of popular resentment of the so-called “political elite”. I am sorry to say that the “Frankenstein Monster” known as the “political elite” is the direct creation of a public that refuses to do their duty to themselves, their family, neighborhood, community, state and nation. The “political elite” could not exist without the abject indifference of “we the people”. Our dissatisfaction with the way we are being governed is a direct result of the neglect of our duties as citizens of the United States. Until we as a people are willing to take back control of our government through the frequent and consistent communication of our values to those we have elected to represent us, we can expect the situation to continue to degrade. Our freedom and that of our children and grandchildren depend upon a radical change in our behavior and the execution of our duty as citizens.
Here is what we can do. Add our representative’s phone number and email address to our personal list of contacts. Educate ourselves on the issues affecting our lives. Formulate and express our opinions to others who might agree with us. Encourage them to do the same. Contact our representatives as necessary (at least monthly) so they know we are watching. Let them know if you agree or disagree with their representation and why. Campaign for those representatives who demonstrate that they are listening to the voice of the people and get rid of those who are not. There are many resources available to those who sincerely wish to correct the direction of our Republic, but you must take advantage of them in order for there to be positive change. Please do so.