Citizenship

Persons, People, and Public Policy by Ron Cebik, Psychotherapist and Teacher, HuffingtonPost.com, 10/20/2013 …The tragic truth is that an angst-driven minority can dominate a well-meaning progressive majority through threats of disrupting the structures designed to maintain a stable social system. The answer to this threat is enough people to maintain a posture of non-anxious reaction to the chaos engendered by the frightened angry minority. The future of American and global well-being is dependent on raising the level of self-aware conscientious independent citizenry who ultimately consider their highest allegiance to be humanity itself.

The Duties of American CitizenshipTheodore Roosevelt calls on Americans to participate in political life. January 26, 1883

Americans Know Even Less About Government Than You Could Possibly Imagine By Aaron Wysocki, TYT Network, October 10, 2014

Political Values Are Dividing Us Over Basic Facts, Not Just Policy Choices by Justin Reedy and Christopher Wells, The Huffington Post, Sep 30, 2014

Can a New Populist Movement Fight Off American Oligarchy? By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 23, 2014

The Duties of American CitizenshipTheodore Roosevelt calls on Americans to participate in political life. January 26, 1883

Persons, People, and Public Policy by Ron Cebik, Psychotherapist and Teacher, HuffingtonPost.com, 10/20/2013 …The tragic truth is that an angst-driven minority can dominate a well-meaning progressive majority through threats of disrupting the structures designed to maintain a stable social system. The answer to this threat is enough people to maintain a posture of non-anxious reaction to the chaos engendered by the frightened angry minority. The future of American and global well-being is dependent on raising the level of self-aware conscientious independent citizenry who ultimately consider their highest allegiance to be humanity itself.

Americans Know Even Less About Government Than You Could Possibly Imagine By Aaron Wysocki, TYT Network, October 10, 2014   American knowledge about government is reaching a sad level indeed. The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania released a poll on Wednesday that shows 35 percent of those polled could not name one branch of the U.S. government. This amount is almost equivalent to the 36 percent of Americans who could successfully name the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

An Informed and Educated Electorate By Thom HartmannTruthout.org, December 6, 2010

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.…Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right. —Thomas Jefferson

“We have an opening in this crisis for a deep transformation in American politics…But it requires people — this is the hard part — to get out of their sort of passive resignation…and engage among themselves in a much more serious role as citizens…to force the changing values of the system.” William Grieder being interviewed by Bill Moyers, July 24, 2008

 “It must be laid down as a primary position and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government owes not only a proportion of his property, but even his personal service to the defense of it.”   George Washington

True patriotism isn’t simply about securing our borders from outsiders. It’s about coming together for the common good. True patriotism requires taking on a fair share of the burdens of keeping America going, not finding tax loopholes and squirreling money abroad. It’s about preserving and protecting our democracy, not inundating it with big money or paralyzing it with partisanship. True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. Generations of Americans have risked their lives to preserve it. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry when special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve the government, not to destroy it. And they don’t pander to divisiveness; they don’t fuel racist or religious or ethnic divides; they aren’t homophobic or sexist. To the contrary: True patriots seek to confirm and strengthen the “we” in “we the people of the United States.” Robert Reich, Facebook, November 11, 2014

Americans Are Dangerously Politically Ignorant — The Numbers Are Shocking ByCJ Werleman, AlterNet, June 17, 2014

Lost in the Past by Timothy Egan, New York Times, May 22, 2014  … a 2010 report that only 12 percent of students in their last year of high school had a firm grasp of our nation’s history…. Civics, said [filmmaker Ken] Burns, is “the operating system” for citizenry; if you know how government is constructed, it’s no longer a complicated muddle, but a beautiful design.

Three R’s and a Why by Andrea Batista Schlesinger, The Nation, September 15, 2009 … the public school system should prepare citizens for democracy…why our public school system was founded in the first place. …History is the study of that which has happened. Civics prepares each and every one of us to make our own history, by giving us the skills to navigate our democracy…we are failing to educate our children about their critical role as citizens…Our young people’s civic ignorance is a long-term threat…

Speaking Out Is at the Heart of Being a Citizen By George Lakoff, Reader Supported News, February 16, 2013

The American Public’s Shocking Lack of Policy Knowledge is a Threat to Progress and Democracy By Justin Doolittle, Truthout | Op-Ed, October 12, 2013 …The genuinely shocking degree of public ignorance regarding the ACA that has been revealed by this slew of recent polls… ought to be viewed as a very serious political crisis and a grave threat to whatever semblance of health our badly disfigured democratic culture still maintains.….The public is not just uninformed, but also misinformed…having been helplessly subjected to four years of relentless and fantastically dishonest propaganda regarding the policy on which they are opining…Widespread civic ignorance is intrinsically beneficial to reactionaries and anathema to progressive politics. The lack of basic, sensible policy knowledge among the general public is hardly limited to the arena of health care…The Republican Party, as well as what David Frum refers to as the “conservative entertainment complex,” combine to operate an extremely powerful, 24/7 propaganda machine, specifically designed to misinform Americans and spread an inherent distrust of any progressive policy ideas…The reality of a massively uninformed public, though, is simply incongruous with this vision of a progressive future. So long as colossal swaths of the population are in the dark about the major policy issues of our time, the political scene will be ripe for ultra-right-wing demagogues and faux-populists to thwart progress at every turn…The vibrancy and legitimacy of our democratic culture depend on it.

It’s Time to Fight the Status Quo by Bill McKibben,  Solutions Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet, June 7, 2012slogans and proposals and will mean nothing without the requisite power standing behind them…Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies…All along, two things have been clear. One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative…Two, we have much of the technological know-how we need to make the leap past fossil fuel…We need politicians more afraid of voter outrage than they are of corporate retribution...So, if we have an emergency, and we have the tools to fight it, the only question is why we’re not doing so. And the answer, I think, is clear: it’s in the interest of some of the most powerful players on earth to prolong the status quo…talking endlessly about these solutions at international conferences is not going to produce them. They go against the power of the status quo, and hence they will be enacted only if we build movements strong enough to force them…We’ll never get the solutions we need—the solutions everyone has known about for two decades—unless we build the movement first. 

A Fearful Price By BOB HERBERT, Op-Ed Columnist, New York Times, December 8, 2009…The idea that fewer than 1 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are being called on to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq and that we’re send­ing them into com­bat again and again and again — for three tours, four tours, five tours, six tours — is obscene. All decent peo­ple should object…the over­whelm­ing major­ity of Amer­i­cans have no desire at all to share in the sac­ri­fices that the ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies are mak­ing. Most Amer­i­cans do not want to serve in the wars, do not want to give up their pre­cious time to do vol­un­teer work that would aid the nation’s war­riors and their fam­i­lies, do not even want to fork over the taxes that are needed to pay for the wars…The rea­son it is so easy for the U.S. to declare wars, and to con­tinue fight­ing year after year after year, is because so few Amer­i­cans feel the actual pain of those wars. We’ve been fight­ing in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than we fought in World Wars I and II com­bined. If vot­ers had to choose right now between insti­tut­ing a draft or exit­ing Afghanistan and Iraq, the troops would be out of those two coun­tries in a heartbeat…Here’s George Washington’s view, for exam­ple: “It must be laid down as a pri­mary posi­tion and the basis of our sys­tem, that every cit­i­zen who enjoys the pro­tec­tion of a free gov­ern­ment owes not only a pro­por­tion of his prop­erty, but even his per­sonal ser­vice to the defense of it.”

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