Civic Involvement Essay

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Civic Involvement – A Founding Principle of American Values In The Founders’ Embrace of Both Rights and Duties, Thomas West does an excellent job of explaining John Locke’s theories regarding government and citizenship. Of course Locke was arguably the strongest influence to the Founders and the formation of the American Republic. The first concept is that duty is implied in ones’ “unalienable rights”. One can pursue life, liberty, and happiness, as long as they are not infringing on anyone else’s life or liberty. One’s first interest is self-preservation, but “Lockean self-interest proves to be inseparable from service to others.” (West, 2008, p. 594) Locke also speaks of Biblical principles where a man born free must work for himself and not live off the labor of others. Men have duties as well as rights and one of those duties is that of citizenship, or civic duty. (West, 2008) This is a point missed by many Americans today. With today’s fast-paced and hectic life style, many are just trying to survive the day-to-day grind. Every American is equal under the law and they can all quote you their rights, but many do not realize that political participation and civic involvement are a duty and not an option. In order for our American Constitutional Republic to thrive into the future and not just survive or coast by, we must all become more active and involved in both civic organizations and the political process. One of the major factors contributing to a lack of participation is the decline of the American family and family values. Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan blames the increase in deviant behavior on the increase of single parent families in the United States. It is easy to see how the decline of the traditional family can lead to an increase in deviance. Moynihan points out different governmental studies which show the increase
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