The responsibilities of a U.S. citizen

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2014

By Buddy McDonald

Guest Columnist 

There are three fundamental responsibilities that citizens of the Republic owe our country.

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Inform yourself of the issues, register, and vote in all elections.

Our Republic to properly function requires we preform this responsibility. People who can quote statistics on sports teams know nothing about who governmental officials are, what the sales tax rate is which they pay is, or anything about government. They are ignorant about the system which controls their lives.

How can our economy and governmental system be so screwed up. Because, few vote and fewer learn about the candidates and issues if they vote. TV crews interview people on the street about national and international issues and they don’t have a clue as to who our officials are and the issues of the day.

Few citizens who register actually vote. This is disgusting and un-American. It is spitting on the graves of our Veterans from the Revolution to the present. It is a national shame.

The country will not function properly until our citizens inform themselves of the issues facing us and learn about the candidates running for office.

The second responsibility is service on juries.

Juries decide outcomes of criminal and civil Circuit Court cases in Mississippi. Crime problems in a county rests in its juries. Citizens must have the courage and take time to serve on juries. If you or your family member was a victim of crime or if you or your family member was accused of a crime that the person did not commit, you would want the smartest and most dedicated jury possible. This is just basic to our judicial system.

Should you or your loved one be injured through no fault of theirs or if you or a loved one is being sued when it was not their fault you would want the smartest and most dedicated jury possible. This is just basic to our judicial system.

When citizens use excuses to get out of jury duty we are not getting the best and broadest section of our county on juries. When business owners call wanting to know how to get out of jury duty not wanting to take time to serve I am shocked. These same people complain of outrageous jury verdicts! Not all jurors should be business people but we need a full cross section of citizens on juries.

The third responsibility is service in our military.

I feel strongly about this. Many of us served in the Active Forces, Reserves or National Guard all of which play a vital part in our national defense. Everyone should do some national service. I believe children of the wealthy and powerful should serve as; those who have benefited most from our government should bear the burden if its military defense. This obligation is less honored today.

We have an all-volunteer military. There are obvious problems with this. Over the decades many of the descendants of the original volunteer military go into the military and a military class will develop. We need a professional cadre of military but we also need a continuing influx of citizens in the military not planning to make it a profession. Citizens come into the military do their term of service and go back into civilian life giving a broader representation to military services and keep them in touch with the non-military segment of society.

Citizens gain a better understanding of what troops encounter and make citizens better able to decide if it is necessary to go to war. It is imperative the President should have served in the military so he or she can fully understand the Presidents greatest duty, to defend the country.