We should draft a declaration of civic responsibilities

In a democracy, the people are responsible for maintaining conduct, and enacting and administering laws that promote a just and lasting society. We are failing this duty.

To establish a clear vision for self government and a strong framework for common progress, I propose we draft and adopt a declaration of civic responsibilities. Defining the key components of citizenship will guide constructive participation and inspire people and leaders to:

Uphold, strengthen, and expand upon the rights afforded to people by the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other binding declarations.

Exhibit virtue and civility toward other people equally and in accordance with common laws and reasonable expectations while pursuing personal and professional interests or when serving as an agent of the state — including as a fair and impartial juror, judge, lawmaker, administrator, or officer of the law.

Preserve, maintain and advance — for the welfare of all people — the agency and utility of social and natural systems, and the conditions essential for a dignified and sustainable existence.

Defend against assaults or limitations on people, their liberties, or the mechanics of a healthy society from any domestic or foreign persons, bodies, or nations that intend harm.

Strive to understand matters important to their communities and the affairs of the nation, and contribute their expertise and experience to public discourse, policymaking, and governance.

Empower competent and virtuous leaders, and continually demand their accountability by voting, organizing to advance causes, and defining the expectations of government.

CapTimes – June 16, 2020

This letter is related to a Modern Populace citizenship project aimed to inspire civic pride and advance the idea that responsibilities are as central to freedom as rights.