The Un-Involved American

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 26th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time when the people living in the U.S. were involved. This time was primarily before the U.S. even existed. Do you think that is a fair claim? Okay, maybe it wasn’t primarily before 1776, but as the pendulum swings, I think involvement by the American citizenry was more pronounced in that time frame than it is today. We’ve swung away from citizen involvement.

During the American Revolution the general public responded by picking up arms in the defense of liberty, declaring the natural right to freedom, casting off the tyrannical hold of the British Empire upon the colonies. Freedom. Freedom is worth fighting for. The people were involved in obtaining and establishing freedom. Years later Americans once again responded, unfortunately it was in civil war, but everyone showed up. Pardon the satire. World War II is another example of American’s being involved. Unfortunately, Americans seem to only come together on a grand scale when war is involved.

Perhaps it isn’t only when war is involved, but it is most prominent when war is involved. Perhaps Americans are regularly involved, but only when we face a national crisis it is readily apparent. This would be a good thing if it is the case. It might indicate that we take care of one another without interest of recognition or personal gain.

Anyway, American’s come together to defend liberty and freedom. That’s when Americans get involved. That was when American’s got involved. Something happened to America after World War II. First, something happened before it: America was robbed of freedom through the policies that followed the Great Depression. “Luckily” the war came along and provided much needed economic increase. This is what happened to America after WWII, the economic increase.

With economic security came complacency. Not all at once, but over time. Sure, there was still a lot of strife in the country, some very serious issues were prominent among the headlines, civil rights, for example. Overall, complacency settled into mainstream America. With this complacency came the un-involved American: “You do your thing, I’ll do mine.” That works so long as the other person’s “thing” isn’t taking away your liberty.

In a country like the U.S. we cannot afford to be complacent and un-involved. I don’t have one specific action in mind, but I know I need to be more involved. If I don’t make decisions for myself then someone else’s decisions will heavily influence my life. I need to take responsibility and own my life. I need to get more involved.

I don’t see how we can trust what we are fed on the television. Are the majority of Americans happy with the current state of affairs in this country or not? Are we all struggling to find jobs, or find jobs with sufficient pay? I’m not talking sufficient for smart phones and data plans, I’m talking sufficient for adequate housing and food. Are we all caught up in emotional social issues and ignoring what’s really going on? Is involvement more than changing an icon on a Facebook profile or Tweeting a “meme” image with a powerful statement?

If we don’t make a choice and work towards obtaining a goal then we’ll end up with something we might never have wanted in the first place. To be involved citizens we need to make choices, exercise individual responsibility and encourage common sense through education. Turning responsibility over to someone else, such as government, is being un-involved.  I think we need to be more involved, starting with our own lives. Starting with me.

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About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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