Citizenship has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been worrying about Harley’s South African citizenship, her American citizenship, wondering about emigrating despite Trump becoming president, and a whole host of other things. On the one hand, I’ve thought of citizenship as a privilege – I’m privileged to have an American passport that allows me to travel easily, something I notice more with a South African husband. However, with today being inauguration day, I want to talk a little bit about citizenship as a responsibility, and how each of us can be an active citizen.
Whenever election day rolls around, either here in South Africa or in the States, I make a pretty big deal of it. I make sure Dean votes (not that he needs me to do so, but still), and I’m sure to vote as well. Voting is important. It’s the most obvious statement of your opinion in the democratic system, and it’s vital to a state being legitimate and focused on the needs of the people. I actually really like countries that make voting easy for citizens, whether with a public holiday or plenty of advanced voting, along with some sort of mandatory voting system. If you are a citizen, you should be required to take part in the governance of your country. But there is so much more that goes into being an active citizen.