Responsible citizens put society above their own gain, which contradicts so much of the American paradigm.
by Luke Miller ’13
Luke Miller ’13 is a writing graduate from Waco. He is pursuing a master's degree in English at the University of Houston. (Photography by Carolyn Cruz)
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Topics: Responsible Citizenship
by Luke Miller ’13
I remember hearing somewhere that college is half learning how to be a person, half learning how to be around other people. In that regard, responsibility falls into the latter category–putting the advancement of society above your own gain, which contradicts so much of the American paradigm. Perhaps to be a responsible American citizen we’ve got to learn how to balance our individualistic tendencies with the collective mental retention that we all have to possess in order to call ourselves decent human beings.
On the road to this, there can be compromise, but more often than not there won’t be. There will be struggles–pitfalls, stubbornness, and frailty among those who say that it’s impossible. But the modern society must persevere. I can think of no advanced civilization that did not continually have a right-minded citizenry pushing agendas that benefit all rather than keep some comfortable. To be responsible means to take an idea and consider it without necessarily acknowledging its correctness.
At the same time though, we as responsible citizens must ensure that our justice system, our social barometer, isn’t skewed. Economically, that means closing the gap between the upper and middle classes; socially, that means learning not to conflate repression of rights with exercising of religious beliefs; politically, in my opinion, that means getting corporate money out of the political arena; and finally in terms of entertainment it means for America that we start thinking about our consumption of media.
Responsible citizens mind others—retaining their self-image.
Next essay: Ron Pitcock – Unobserved citizenship
TEDx at TCU – “What does responsible citizenship look like?”
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