When you live in a city, you are recognized as a citizen. From Ancient Greece, Aristotle, the father of political science, considered you a citizen if you had an active part in the states’ government. From the textbook, We The People, by Thomas E. Patterson, introduces the responsibilities of becoming a citizen at the beginning of the book. From this book, a couple of tips that may help enhance your feelings of citizenship and activate your engagement in the community are thinking politically and understanding the nation’s political culture.
Political thinking is not voicing an opinion, it is critical evaluation to make political judgments on what can be believed from the information that is heard. It enhances responsibility among citizens. Thinking politically is aiming to help students, of all levels, become responsible citizens. Responsible citizenship was what English philosopher John Stuart Mill had in mind when he said that democracy is the best form of government (Patterson 2015, 3).
The citizens should not be concerned only of their rights. They should be equally alive to their duties and responsibilities. John Locke was of the view that if a man has a right to live, he has a corresponding duty not to kill others. In his words, Everyone living in the society is to obey the laws of the society.
To help students understand politics, there is no right or wrong way to think politically. Everybody’s understanding of politics is different. From the work of scholars, as well as political practitioners and writers have helped, political science has developed largely (Patterson 2015, 6). Tools to help broaden an understanding of politics consist of reliable information, have a general idea of major topics, and understand the terms and concepts of everyday politic conversations.
The biggest obstacle citizens face in politics is the effortless act of understanding how to politically think. In this case, this shows the lack of responsibility. When citizens do pay attention, it seems as if its portrayed in an ineffective way. Many Americans get their political information and opinions, from social media and or television. It is concluded, from the University of Maryland, a study represented that the false information is universal in the talk show culture. The information from social media and television are not total lies, but the information does get twisted, as the political reporter ties in their opinion, making it sound politically correct.
A journalist, Walter Lippmann, is concerned about the citizens of the United States that are unprepared to play the role democracy hands them. They live in a real world, but think in an imagined one…it is difficult to understand that citizens are in a self-governing society, but are blind to reality, Lippmann states. Lippmann’s concerns have been confirmed by many scholarly studies. To continue confirming American citizens blindness to reality, one thousand American citizens were given the citizenship test that immigrants must pass in order to become a legal citizen. Four of every ten American citizens who took the test failed. With the lack of information given to citizens, that does not keep them from voting in elections, or stating their strong opinions.
Most citizens are unfamiliar with their nation’s political stand. Again, there is no right or wrong way to politically think, but the history of the nation’s political stand is rarely understood. To understand where your country stands politically, it is important to know your country’s political culture. A political culture are the beliefs of its people about politics. These beliefs come from the country’s traditions and relationships of citizens to the government.
There are four ideal core values of America’s culture that I learned that could help someone enhance their feelings of citizenship and activate their engagement in their community. These four values are liberty, equality, individualism, and self-government. Liberty is the act of each individual to be set free and think as they choose. A popular statement, the United States was born free, states political scientist Louis Hartz. Equality expresses the equal moral worth and treatment of each individual under the law. All men are created equal, from the Declaration of Independence, specifically from Thomas Jefferson. Individualism is self sufficiency. American’s are to remain their own masters, from Observers of Tocqueville. Lastly, self-government, is that people should have a voice in their governing and authority. The Americans’ belief in self-government developed in colonial America (Patterson 2015, 12).
Starting with an organized community is a way of growing together as a community. From the Village Politics by Paul Rogat Loeb, Loeb explains that motivating your community and coming together as a whole is a way of defeating major issues within the community. Once a community comes together, citizens will support each other and gain trust. Entire communities can grow when challenged (Loeb, 20). From the reading, Making Our Lives Count by Paul Rogat Loeb, Loeb explains how a community can come together to help other citizens in a time in need, which gives that specific community encouragement to grow and succeed together once completing major accomplishments.
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