I believe that as an American, I have certain duties and responsibilities that I must fulfill for my country. By accepting what others strive for their entire lives, an American citizenship, I must contribute to my country, because I believe, like President Kennedy once said, and President Eisenhower before him, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. It is that type of selfless commitment to the land of the free, that our great nation depends on to function at a superior level, a level many other nations have modeled their own countries upon. To me, this is not patriotism or die hard “Americanism”, but instead a simple retribution that I owe to my county for the gifts that I receive on a daily system, because without me the American system can not prevail.
I grew up in Port Charlotte, Florida. A town U.S. News and World Report raves as one of the greatest place to retire in the U.S.A. Thus, it is not a political hot spot by any stretch of the imagination. This being said, I was brought up in a house where politics and current events were always among the topics of discussion. However, my parents were not politicians, teachers in fact, but as average America citizens they were concerned and intrigued by what was occurring both in and outside the borders of America. I believe that every man, woman, and child who calls themselves an American must have this concern and voice their opinions, because that is one of our greatest contributions to the American system. It is our duty as American citizens to take part
It was my parents that helped me realize my civil obligations. My parents, who in their entire lives have never missed casting a ballot in a single election, since they were given the “sacred task.” Whether it was the local race for the mayor of our small town, or the race for the presidency, they were always at the polls. Not necessarily because it was convenient to wait through long lines of voters who were puzzled by even the simplest of voting processes, (because yes, we do happen to live in Florida, home of the hanging Chad), but because they had a commitment to their nation. I realized early on that not everyone took this responsibility as serious as my parents. Earlier this year I interned with my local congressman’s campaign for re-election. My job entailed calling potential voters and asking for their support in the upcoming election. One of the most astonishing things about this tedious task was the number of “American citizens” who would state matter of fatly that they had never voted in their entire lives, and frankly that they had no intention of ever doing so. To me, that was unreal. A proverbial slap in the face, if you will, to dear old Uncle Sam. Did they not have an opinion? Did they not care that the next four to eight years of their lives could turn out drastically different depending on who would be elected? These, of course, are the same people who are the first to complain about how the government is filled with bureaucratic bottom dwelling scum. I would leave the blame for any problems that this country faces with them, because they chose not to fulfill one of their gravest responsibilities as Americans.
The duties that I feel I owe to my country are not enforced, and it’s not that I am afraid of a higher power, But I do my best to accomplish them, because I want to have the best possible experience in this country that I possibly can. In order to do that I have to do my part to make the system work, not because others won’t and can’t, but because I can. So I will lead a life full of community service projects, feeding the homeless, campaigning for politicians that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with, helping elderly women cross busy intersections, and whatever else I can, and if all goes to plan, the system will work, and life as we know will keep ticking.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.