With only 56 days left until the election, it’s time for every American to consider something we generally take for granted: our relationship with our country. Citizenship is not just a status that confers certain rights on a person; it’s also the obligation that each individual has to something bigger then themselves. Citizenship is messy and complex, painful and exhilarating, noisy and welcoming. At DemCast, we celebrate all the citizens of this nation. We’ve launched “Project Citizen” to invite ordinary citizens to share their stories.
“Fighting For a More Perfect Union” by Rena Korb
Ronald Reagan plays a starring role in my political awakening.
Believe me, I take no pride in these words.
My first memory of Reagan dates back to seventh-grade sewing class. A voice breaks across the loudspeaker, over the clacking of 30 machines, to announce an attempt has been made on the president’s life. He has been shot and injured, taken to a hospital in Washington, D.C. To this day, I can recall my crushing sense of disappointment.
Fast forward two years. Now it’s ninth grade and I’m sitting at the back of the Los Angeles city bus with my friends, a group of smart but cocky misfits. We are scheming how to defeat Ronald Reagan. We whisper possible ideas and plots. Every one of us wants to do this service to the country….
“It Started With Impeachment” by Tamara C
When Trump ran for office, I remember laughing. I said “He’s a joke” and “He’ll never win.” I think a lot of people thought the same as me and didn’t take his campaign seriously until it was too late. I felt disheartened and depressed. I shut off the news and all social media.
During impeachment, I decided sticking my head in the sand wasn’t an option either, and I tried to really learn what was going on around me. I started to learn all of the actors in our Congress and the influential people around each as the hearings ramped up. I was appalled at what I was seeing and I could no longer ignore it.
I made a vow to get involved in December….
“Your Choice: A Letter to Kansas” by S. Lee Caudle
My dad, a WWI decorated war hero, was born in Caney, Kansas. My grandfather worked for the Caney Grain Company and participated in the Oklahoma Land Run. And although I grew up in northeast Oklahoma, I spent a lot of time visiting relatives and friends in Kansas, our home away from home.
Are you worried for our country? I am. Americans are amazing people who survived a bloody civil war for humanity, fought two world wars to keep the world safe, lost 58,000 soldiers in Vietnam and countless more in military conflicts. Many of these brave men and women came from conservative states like Kansas and Oklahoma.
In 1985 my husband accepted a position in Washington, DC, and we moved, but I’ve always kept up with Kansas and Oklahoma; they are home. Over the years I’ve watched the politicians come and go, agree and disagree, but I’ve never worried because after all, we are Americans….
“Why Do I Speak Up for Democracy? Because My Parents Taught Me Well” by Marcy Miroff Rothenberg
One hundred years ago this July, my 6-year-old dad, his 7-year-old brother and their parents arrived at Ellis Island. It was a trip six years in the making, beginning six weeks after my dad’s birth in Dniepropetrovsk, in what was then Russia and is now Ukraine.
My grandparents, secular Jews whose paternal great-great grandfather had been a silversmith to the Czar (and received a Russianized last name in place of one deemed too Jewish-sounding), had left Moscow when my grandfather took a job with a German company. That move brought the country’s latent anti-Semitism into sharper focus and brought them frighteningly closer to the pogroms that had begun to sweep the Russian countryside….
“Citizenship In Action: My Life in the White House and Beyond” by Mindy Schwartz
My very first political memory dates from 1960, when I was four years old, and I was eight when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I remember watching the TV coverage all during the following weekend. From that time on, I was fascinated by politics and filled with the feeling that I had to do something to make a difference. That feeling has never gone away.
My parents were politically active Democrats. As a child I thought everyone was a Democrat, working to make our country the very best in the world. When I became a teenager, I learned differently. The Vietnam War was raging, the civil rights movement was in full swing, and our heroes, like Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., were paying for their activism with their lives.
Because I loved this country and wanted to be a good citizen, as an 18-year-old college student I was part of the crowd in front of the White House on the night of the Saturday Night Massacre….
“Citizenship: A Work in Progress” by KarlieInCali
It was opening day for the Boston Red Sox. We stood, a group of young girls, in formation on the field, Fenway’s famed Green Monster looming behind us. The drums began and the crowd stood. In unison, we raised our fifes to play the shrill notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was 1976, our country’s Bicentennial year.
Our Fife and Drum Corp, known as the Colonial Girls, marched throughout New England that summer, honoring the sites of historic battles. We performed medleys of rousing songs while war reenactments took place at Bunker Hill, Arlington, Lexington and Concord. We were given the profound honor of marching in Washington, D.C., on the Fourth of July, participating in the celebration of our nation’s 200th birthday. We had a front row seat to witness American pride in all its splendor. The pomp, the pageantry, the music and drums made my heart pound and made me stand a little bit straighter.
I was raised secure in the knowledge that I lived in the greatest country on earth. It wasn’t something to be questioned. It was a fact.
Citizenship meant one thing — love for our country and all she stood for….
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