On the presidential campaign trail, race has been a pervading issue for many candidates. From Ron Paul’s racist newsletter scandal to Newt’s comments on poor children’s work ethic to to the Mormon Churches controversial and possibly racist history, the candidates have been struck with hard questions while the population waits with bated breath for what they perceive to be the “correct” answer. The candidates offer all kinds of solutions to many of the problems associated with race relations, but most, if not all of them, ring hollow. Why? Because many see these solutions as empty promises of the campaign trail, a talking point for debates that are not real, hard-nosed practical solutions. As a libertarian and an individualist, a practical and hard-nosed solution that I recognize is also one of the most important qualities an individual can have, that of self-determination.
What does it mean to be a good citizen, and why should you strive to be one? Many of us are brought up to believe that you must be a good citizen for a democracy to “work”. Being a good citizen usually includes, but not limited to: voting, paying your taxes, flying the flag. Generally speaking, not being engaged in any type of counter-culture or rabble rousing. This type of education of being a good citizen usually begins in the home, ideals passing on from the father and mother to the children. Along this vein, in school, videos like School House Rock are often shown. This education persists with programs for young adults like Rock the Vote, whose slogan is “Rock the Vote don’t block the vote. Some politicians don’t want you to vote, but we’re fighting back”. Yet another program geared toward 18+ individuals, is the Declare Yourself Campaign. A “national nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign to empower and encourage every eligible 18-29 year-old in America to register and vote in local and national elections.” Using promo videos from celebrities and artists like, T.I. and Seth Green. The videos encourage college age students to vote, and to vote early because as T.I. puts it, “Don’t let the man tell you when to vote. Do your thang, when you get ready. Aiight?”
Children are taught today that racism is a thing of the past. A disease which we have overcome and destroyed. Something that was rampant throughout much of history, and with the courageous leaders during the Civil Rights Movement, it was ended. However, shown in several polls is the opinion that racism is still very much a problem in the United States. In a CNN article, a poll showed that “Most Americans see lingering racism”. In a New York Times Blog, The Caucus, a poll showed that Americans today believe racism is a bigger problem than sexism.
“I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbor. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”
I have a hard time writing in certain disciplines of academics. Namely; philosophy, psychology, and I figured sociology would be the same way. It’s hard in my view because everything is so involved with theory’s and your own opinion (which I never have a hard time giving) and while there is evidence in the essay it’s not the central aspect. So with some negativity on my part I began my extra-credit essay and with a little help from my friend who is currently majoring in Sociology, I was able to complete the assignment. I’ll admit, I enjoyed it, once I figured out where I was going and figured out the sociological aspects and theory’s it was a whole lot easier…Enjoy!!