Citizenship by merit, not just birthright

Americans called for a strong leader. Ronald Reagan awaits his test. A 12 -year, uphill campaign for this office certainly required persistence, resolution, stamina, and courage -- fine qualites for any leader.

But, in a democracy we elect a president, not a prophet. We can't expect one man or one political party to solve our nation's problems while we go about our business.

It is hoped that our President-elect will be an example of what each one of us must be in order to make this system work. A leader should inspire strength and courage in his followers, but not replace them.

The preamble of the US Constitution states: "We the Peoplem [my emphasis] of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We must all recognize our obligations to this declaration. The citizens of the US need to assume their responsibilities of individual self-government. It's not a duty reserved for the elected officials alone. In a democracy we are obligated to participate in the operation and execution of this system.

The political cycle has turned full circle from liberal to conservative. It's been said that people were fed up with the way things are, so the opted for change. Change itself is not a solution. It would be naive to think because one alternative wasn't getting results another will bring instant success. Our problems are more complex than that. To find solutions we must demand of ourselves the wisdom, integrity, and faith that we demand of our leaders. I'm sure Jimmy Carter would have appreciated more of that kind of support.

Even though the 1980 election was a landslide victory, there will still be a need for cooperation, assistance, tolerance, and hope. Each one of us is responsible to fulfill that need. That and not our birthright earns us our US citizenship.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.