Definition And Values Of American Citizenship Essay

1041 Words Dec 4th, 2014 null Page
What does it mean to be a citizen living in the United States of America this day and age? Before answering this broad question a factoid should be introduced. As statistical data obtained from multiple survey results suggests,1 Americans as a whole are grossly ignorant to the ways in which their government operates. Feasibly, that sheer ignorance has seeped over into the conventional definition and values of American citizenship. To be sure, in the United States citizenship encompasses many rights and responsibilities. In the conventional sense, Americans have the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for example. More commonly, Americans are aware they also have the right to vote, even though voter turnout rates have meagerly fluctuated since 1948.2 As for civic responsibilities, paying taxes and abiding by national, state, and local laws most certainly strike the mind. Yet voting, paying taxes, and adhering to the law only constitute a mere portion of upstanding citizenship. Granted, these aspects are crucial slices of the pie, they are nevertheless conventional explanations; and there’s a fine line between conventionality and narrowed simplicity, as the famous story of Rosa Parks will attest.3 However, conventionality is not the core of the ignorance run rampant; civic disengagement is. As Richard Bellamy states in Citizenship, “increasing numbers of citizens . . . feel it is pointless [to engage with their political responsibilities] . . . [as]…

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