Tuesday, March 21, 2017
On Consumers and Citizens
When governments, corporations, and organizations of any kind refer to the general populace, they generally call us “consumers,” which is kind of a dirty word to me. Think about it! The nature of being a consumer is to use up and not give back… just to take without thought of giving. At least some animals that consume can leave manure that is useful to farmers and agriculturists! Our “leavings,” whatever they may be, are usually not wanted. Consumer is not our best or most thorough designation…It is shortsighted and thoughtless.
We are way more than just consumers; we are citizens, and I believe should be so designated and valued. It is in true democracies that citizenship has real worth since it is citizens who, as Thomas Jefferson said, “consent to be governed.” Otherwise we would simply be subjects, people on hand to fulfill the whims and wishes of the ruler. I would remind myself and the readers that in an earlier blog, I wrote that it is citizens who choose to be governed, not ruled.
Now if some of this leadership-rulership stuff is feeling a big dicey these days for Americans, maybe we should take our citizenship a little…or maybe a lot…more seriously. Citizens have responsibilities to themselves and their country. Subjects take orders. We may want to pay more attention to those who govern so that they do not turn into rulers, and we may need to remind ourselves that freedom is highly valued by those who do not have it and is often far too neglected by those who do.
The right to vote....
Citizens have the most powerful right in democracies everywhere…the right to vote, the right to consider the national well being. We could ask: Are we being wise citizens, treasuring this right and using it?
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