So what are these obligated responsibilities we as Americans are bound to in addition to the US Constitution?
Most natural-born citizens of the US have never read them but are bound to them according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of Homeland Security. Being or becoming a US citizen brings with it certain responsibilities. Most immigrants who become US Citizens know about these responsibilities when they are sworn in to become a US citizen. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services provide new citizens with “The Citizen’s Almanac”. These responsibilities come as a package deal of US citizenship but aren’t widely known terms and conditions to Americans who are naturally born in the United States.
“A good constitution is the greatest blessing which a society can enjoy.” – James Wilson – signer of the Declaration of Independence
Responsibilities of a Citizen
- Support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. When the Constitution and its ideals are challenged, citizens must defend these principles against all adversaries.
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community. US citizens should learn about the issues and candidates running for office before casting their vote in an election. This helps your local community keep laws responsive to your needs. It’s important to look at all candidates running for office and the platform they stand behind no matter what political party they are affiliated with. This helps keep our checks and balances in place within our government.
- Participate in the democratic process. The most important thing you can do as a US citizen is VOTE! Voting ensures that our government is maintained and individual voices are clearly heard by elected officials.
- Respect and obey federal, state and local laws. To maintain order in a free society, the rule of law must be followed by the community.
- Respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others. Our nation is very diverse with different backgrounds and cultures. But our common civic values unite us as one nation. Be tolerant, courteous, and respectful of others and their beliefs to ensure the continuance of liberty and freedom for all of us and our future generations.
- Participate in your local community. Community engagement is important to the success of representing a democracy. Volunteer, participate in town hall meetings and public hearings, run for public office are just some examples of contributing to the well-being of the community. The best gift you can give is yourself!
- Pay income and other taxes honestly and on time to federal, state, and local authorities. Our taxes help pay for educating children and adults, keeping our country safe and secure, provide medical services to the elderly and less fortunate.
- Serve on a jury when called upon. A very important service to your community is jury duty. The Constitution guarantees that all persons accused of a crime have the right to a “speedy and public trial by an impartial jury”. This gives US citizens a fair chance in matters that come before the court.
- Defend the country if the need should arise. In the time of war, all citizens must join together and assist the Nation where they are able. This support includes volunteering for the Armed Forces of the United States or civilian service.
Citizenship is a privilege that offers the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of the governing process. The power of our government comes from the people. Government is the people’s creation, not their master and it is all of our responsibility to see that order, justice, and freedom is maintained. Let’s not be a nation so obsessed with our rights, that we forget our responsibilities.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Citizen’s Almanac. September 2014; https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/guides/M-76.pdf
National Center for Constitutional Studies. https://nccs.net/
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