Friday, November 7, 2008

Civic Responsibility

There's a discussion going on on another blog that I read that I felt I needed to respond to this week. The first individual to comment said "This socialist bastard is not my president and never will be. May he fail in everything he attempts and leave office in four years as a broken man."

I understand the sentiment; however, I could not disagree more. I elucidated some of my reasons in my response to that individual on the comments thread, but did not by any means mention every objection I had to that particular individual's wish.

Let's start with the obvious: there will likely be those among the Republican party that doubt Obama's landslide. I'm not sure, given all the reports of voter fraud in practically every state, with practically every case related to groups that supported Obama's campaign, that they're wrong. I do not, however, advocate a close investigation of the whole election.

Why? Simple: no matter what people think of the outcome, no matter how angry or cheated we feel, we cannot undermine the duly elected president. We cannot undermine the people's faith in the system.

Our president, whether or not we agree with his policies and his decisions, is faced with ensuring the worldwide interests of the United States. He must negotiate treaties with nations both friendly and hostile. He must be able to call on the troops that he nominally commands. He must be the first line of defense between the average citizen and those who would do harm to the average citizen. That isn't a small job. And if he fails too badly in any of them, the United States as we know it will be in serious danger of being attacked and perhaps destroyed by her enemies. If we undermine our president, we lessen his effectiveness and enhance his chances of failing us badly when we need him most.

Our system, while far from perfect, is still the best in the world. Every two (House of Representatives), four (President and governors), and six (Senate) years, we host what amounts to a bloodless, orderly rebellion--we vote some scoundrels out, and new ones in. We the people believe in this system; ergo, the system works. When enough cease to believe in the system as it was written and still (mostly) works, the system fails. It's done it once before, in 1861. The low ball casualty estimate from the first Civil War sits at about 618,000 dead and wounded. There might have been, probably were, more.

I say first Civil War because, if the people's confidence in the system of electing new leaders and the peaceful transition of power fails too badly, we will face another. And any Civil War fought today would be far bloodier, and would take far longer to recover from--if we could recover as a nation at all.

Our nation does not ask much from us, as individual citizens. First, it asks that, if we are called up to serve on a jury, we go. Second, it asks us to exercise our right to choose our leaders and vote in the elections of local, state, and national government officials. Third, and last, it asks us to permit the peaceful transition of power from one elected government to the next, and to support, or at least not undermine, the leaders that we the people elect.

Sometimes supporting the government is harder than others. I admit that. There are times when the people, either a majority or a large minority, cannot support the policies of the government. Fair enough: there are methods by which we can reject the policies that we do not agree with.

That said, we still must be careful to avoid actively undermining our leaders. That way lies both chaos and treason. And never doubt that, though the party currently in power resisted the old fashioned idea of prosecuting treason when their own were charged with it (mostly unofficially), they will not hesitate to charge any who commit treason against them.

It is our civic responsibility to vote. It is our civic responsibility to voice dissent. It is our civic responsibility to support, or at least not undermine, the government elect.

I voted. I voice my opinions when they disagree with the majority's. I refuse to undermine the President elect, though he was not my preference.

Did you vote? If you didn't, and don't fulfill your civic responsibilities, don't bitch when the policies passed into laws aren't what you'd like to see.


  1. Hummmm, very well stated. But also remember that until he proves himself wrong or does something to endanger our country we support the Office of the President. We might not always agree with whom was elected but until they do or prove themself wrong we are one nation. You have the right to voice your opinion if you took the responsibility to excerise your right to veto, otherwise keep quite about the policy's about to be implemented by this new administration. (My opinion, Rosita)

  2. Precisely. There are always ways to be a structured, loyal opposition.