Over 17 years ago, my mother walked the floors of her state capital with me in her womb, fighting for our religious freedom that bills of the house threatened to take away. As she strained to tell the representatives about her religious freedom stated in the Constitution, they rolled their eyes at her unable to care less. Today, there are only six states in the union upholding the same religious freedom assured to us more than 230 years ago. Now, my state was recently influenced by outsiders with scandalous intentions that pressured legislation to be passed infringing on my religious freedom. What has America come to? However, my mother has refused to give up her rights, and so do I! It is my duty to defend and uphold the Constitution, and preserve those liberties and freedoms to my posterity. In order to do this, my responsibility as an American citizen is to be educated, informed, and involved.
Education on the Constitution is essential to guarding American freedoms. I make my own discernments rather than blindly following what another’s are, because if I didn’t, I would be neglecting my responsibilities and sentencing my precious freedoms to potential threats. John Adams, with a great knowledge of past history, said from experience that “liberty, once lost, it lost forever.” (John Adams). He knew that history repeats itself, and if you don’t know your history, you’re bound to make those same mistakes again. In fact, Dailymail.com reported that “70% of Americans do not know what the constitution is,” and 38% of a 1000 person survey did not pass the U.S. citizenship test; the same test that is administered to immigrants looking to become U.S. citizens (dailymail.co.uk). How can you expect to keep and defend your rights, if you don’t even know what they are? Another of my responsibilities to America is to be informed, and to be informative.
An informed citizen does his/her own research, keeps up with current issues and events, and informs others about what is taking place in the world. When I don’t do my own research and make my own conclusions, I diminish my learning opportunities and can easily be deceived by false statements. Thomas Jefferson put it perfectly when he said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what it never was and never will be. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.” (Thomas Jefferson). When informed, we are aware of when our rights are in jeopardy. When informative, we enlighten others about issues and events that directly affect them. I remember my family setting up informational stands and printing out thousands of brochures to mail out to our fellow city residents regarding information on bills that would be voted on soon. This is what we did to inform ourselves and inform others.
The most critical responsibility of an American citizen is to be involved in government. What being involved means to me is participating in elections, voting, serving, or standing up for what I believe in. If I want something changed, it starts with me. I have to take action and participate in my local, state, and national governments. The most paramount right any citizen has is the right to vote. If I don’t vote, my needs, wants, and opinions are not represented in government. The freedom of speech gives me the ability to stand up and be heard, never letting my voice be silenced. My mother stood for what she thought was right when she protested in the capital. If we choose to neglect our responsibilities to our country, to stand down for our freedoms, and to be ignorant of what affects us most, we are laying out our freedoms to be stripped from us. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke).
My responsibility to America is to be educated with the crucial knowledge of our U.S. history and Constitution, inform myself and others about current issues, and be supportive of America through my involvement. I agree with John Adams when he said, “Liberty at all hazards must be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. … Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” (John Adams). As my mother advocated for her religious beliefs, she was showing me to live by the words in the Preamble to the United States Constitution, with emphasis on this phrase: “… secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” (Preamble to the Constitution of the United States). I understand that securing our God-ordained rights to America’s posterity is, in the end, my ultimate responsibility.