How do We Define a Citizen ? Essay

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Citizens Must Fulfill Obligations and Duties to the Community

In our ever-changing world how do we define "a citizen?" Peter J. Gomes in his speech, "Civic Virtue and the Character of Followship" defines a citizen as "...one who belongs and one who has obligations" (206). He adds a citizen has "... the notion of belonging, having an identity of which one is proud and by which one is defined and having an obligation to share and serve in behalf of that greater good" (206). The Webster's New World Dictionary defines a citizen as "a member of a nation by birth or naturalization," but a citizen is more than that. A citizen not only has rights and privileges; he is a proud, contributing member of society. I define a citizen as one
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Voting is the cornerstone of every free society. By voting we get our voices heard. It is a way that we affect change and a way to make sure that the government is doing the "work of the people." I know that many people believe that voting is a waste of time because their vote will not have an impact, nor will it change the way business is done in Washington. They believe it does not make a difference. I say look to the 2000 presidential elections, which proved that every vote counts. President George W. Bush won by only the smallest of margins. Even though he lost the popular vote, he won the Electoral College by just three votes. According to a study conducted by the Committee of the Study of the Electorate, only 51.2 percent of those eligible voted in the 2000 presidential election (qtd. in Ushkow), which means only half of eligible voters voted! The number is even lower for midterm elections. The study goes on to say the reason for low voter turn out is " a decreasing hold of the idea of civic duty and involvement" (qtd. in Ushkow). Again, I say we as citizens have the duty to participate in electing our leaders on both the national and local level. Local officials and state leaders have an immediate and lasting impact on our lives. They determine funding for schools, roads, and other community services. They have the authority to raise or lower state and local tax rates. They decide land use issues and enact laws and regulations that affect our

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