Duty

A couple of quotes to provide food for thought:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any American Emperor, corporate potentate, rogue state or false sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen. I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. I will sadly bear arms on behalf of the United States if necessary to defend it. I will seek out opportunities for work of local and national importance in defense of freedom and justice, and finally, that I will remember always that one of the defenses of freedom is its exercise.

— Kos diary

America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve got to want it bad, because it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.

— The American President

For the past six years and longer, government has been telling us we have to do less and less. Country attacked? Sure, hang out a flag if it makes you feel better, but mostly, go on as you always have. Country at war? Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to conserve or sacrifice. That’s for other people’s kids. Pat Tillman aside, major league sports teams didn’t exactly shut down while healthy young men enlisted in droves, and factories weren’t emptied out. Our leaders told us, eh, we’ll do it with what we’ve got, don’t worry about us.

Don’t do anything, they say, and so, noble examples aside, we don’t.

But responsibility isn’t always a burden. Responsibility gives rise to a feeling of control, of power over one’s surroundings, of some way, however small, to participate in greater civic life and determine the course of the country’s future. Responsibility isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t too much. We landed a man on the moon. We can do what we really set out to do.

Instead we’ve got guys tapping away at their keyboards who sincerely believe they’re part of the war effort, because that’s all they’ve been called on to do.

And so on Memorial Day I want to ask what our obligations at this point should be, what we should be required to do to make this country a better place. What do you think our requirements of citizenship truly are?

A.