Reflections on democracy
In the time that I have taken to study the various themes included in Democracy; its values and principles, I have learnt many important things that I can put into practice. Civic participation is one of the topics that stood out for me. In this article, I will define citizenship and delve into what it means to be a citizen; the roles and responsibilities of a citizen; as well as the benefits and methods of civic participation.
According to the Oxford dictionary, a citizen is a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized. A citizen is an inhabitant of a particular town, city or nation. In a democracy, citizenship implies a responsibility to society to practice and respect rights governed by the state, to help other citizens enjoy their rights, and to strive to improve the existing environment. Citizenship is important for developing a strong moral code in individuals, but it is also important for creating a safe, supportive society while protecting democracy. There are many legal benefits that come with being a recognized citizen of a country. Some of these benefits are; the right to vote, to hold public office, to hold the government accountable and participate in democratic principles.
Social order depends on responsible citizenship. The public ensures that there is transparency and accountability by monitoring the actions of the people in government offices and speaking out when they are either pleased or displeased with the way things are being run. In order for a citizen to participate in civic affairs, the citizen in question must be aware of the importance of their involvement as well as current issues. This will enable the citizen to make informed and responsible decisions on issues of public importance.
Citizens can participate in national or state affairs by voting; voting is an important aspect of any democracy. When citizens vote for leaders to represent them and their ideas; the leaders in turn support the citizen’s interests. Another way is by actively making appeals and communicating with the government. Citizens can participate in organizations that are concerned with matters of public interest as well as connect to information and current events. Another way for citizens to be active in civic matters is by performing economic acts such as buying thins and paying taxes. Other ways are to support political actions, to engage in acts of volunteerism, to conduct awareness campaigns, serve as a public official and many more.
By Christabel M M Mulenga,
Sumy State University