Lee H. Hamilton is president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University. Hamilton represented Indiana’s 9th congressional[…]
Lee Hamilton on the responsibilities of American citizenship.
The American people can’t dodge responsibility here – not in a government that’s informed by the people. I think that being a citizen in America is a very tough job. It requires you to make discriminating judgments. You’re sitting there, you’re trying to raise your family. You’re trying to earn a living. A lot of competitive pressures. And being a citizen is not easy because there are so many other things that press upon you – making discriminating judgments. Keep in mind that politicians reflect the views of the people they represent. So the American people have a responsibility here obviously to participate; but not just a matter of voting. It’s a matter of participating in improving their communities, and their neighborhoods, their states and their nation. And they have to take that citizenship seriously. It isn’t written in the stars somewhere that America will always endure, will always prosper. It takes each generation to make that come true, and we have to accept our responsibilities in order for it . . . It’s not carved in granite somewhere that America is always going to be strong, and free, and prosperous, and number one in the world. It has to be achieved in every generation.