The task of defining citizenship is an difficult endeavor which takes much thought and careful examination in order to make sense of what constitutes the ideals of citizenship. Previously, I never gave much thought to what citizenship is and what it means to me. My first inclinations were that citizenship was related to politics and practicing the rule of law. From whot I have learned in class, I can confidently say that my views of citizenship have changed for the better to include a broader vision than just the politically involved law-abiding citizen. Citizenship is, at its least, the individual’s practice of civic engagement in the forms of political participation, critiquing government, instituting change through democratic process while abiding by the rule of law, contributing to society as an economically efficient/skilled worker, building the local/national community through means of financial donation and/or active participation, being environmentally conscious, and recognizing the valuable cost of freedom while exercising in civic engagement with a global vision incorporating the voice of the youth.
Political involvement is not always seen as appealing to the community, especially to those individuals who feel that they have been betrayed by the politicians and government they have elected. The first step to understanding citizenship is to define the concept of social contract. Social contract is an agreement shared by both the government and the people in which both parties operate and institute change by abiding by the rules and regulations that are stipulated within the contract itself. The first step to citizenship should be to vote because by not voting for state and national representatives, the individual is breaking even the simplest tenant of the social contract by demonstrating that they are not willing to make their voice heard among the diversity of the common polity. In light of voting, it is also recognized that there is a clear polarization between the government and the local grassroots community. The government is slow and cumbersome. Discontent kills hope for change and brings about the realization that something must be done without relying on a flawed government.
The needs of the people often take a back seat to the insider politics of providing for special interests. Hobbes speaks clearly about the problem of the human spirit which is in direct contradiction to the laws of nature. In the Leviathan, Hobbes outlines the dilemma of conflicting self interests of man, exposing the struggle between both that which is good and that which sets itself against the efforts of that which is good.
For the laws of nature, as justice, equity, modesty, mercy, and, in sum, doing to others as we would be done to, of themselves, without the terror of some power to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our natural passions, that carry us to partiality, pride, revenge, and the like. And covenants, without the sword, are...