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Becoming a Citizen

One can be a technically be a citizen, but if they do not practice their duties, are they really a citizen?  Government taught me not only the foundations of our government system, but also how to understand, manipulate, and follow it.  The thing I found most interesting was the election process.  Honestly, I didn’t know anything about the electoral college before taking the government course.  Knowing how the American government system works is the first step in becoming an active, and true citizen.  Furthermore, knowing how to find and understand information is what makes an active citizen unique.  Understanding the aspects of government is not small; there are many different components to it, but with the use of new information mediums, it is a reasonable task.  The use of internet allows access to an abundance of information and must be utilized by an active citizen.

Electoral College

Elections represent the founding spirit and beliefs America abides by, and are arguably the most significant facets of our society.  To begin, when looking at the electoral college, I was surprised to find a vote really isn’t a direct vote for the president.  At the same time, votes are the solely the most important part of a democracy, and passively sitting back defeats and purpose of the system.  Understanding what one’s vote is actually doing, as well as the power behind it is what makes a true citizen.  The interactive part of our course where we made predictions on the outcome of the 2012 election was especially interesting.  Looking at all the different information at hand, and then coming up with conclusions was really helpful in understanding what exactly was going on.  It was also exciting on the election day to see who was wrong or right (my predictions were correct as usual).  With all the excitement wrapped up in that, the use of technology was a refreshing outlet for all thoughts and opinions.  Most teachers neglect to follow the technological world, and the integration of Twitter was exceptional.  As a student, I was exposed to endless viewpoints from real people, and as a citizen I was able to conclude rational things based on the information at hand.

The word refreshing describes that technology is not used enough in the classroom.  There is quite literally endless amounts of knowledge, and information provided though this medium.  Technology adds fuel to the engine that is a student’s brain.  When they think that they are doing something just for a grade, the ethics are not as enthusiastic.  The internet backs assignments with reason and cause because of an audience.  Using the internet as a medium also allows group collaboration between peers, and even outside sources.  This is a valuable asset to current learning.  I learned not only how to access the internet and manipulate for my on benefit, but also how to collaborate and gain new perspectives.  All this information is necessary for a citizen to participate properly in government.

Participation in voting, although increasing, is below 70%
American citizens need to be more active and understand their role

After understanding where to find the information, as well as learn all the facts, a citizen must understand the importance of using these facts, and the role they play in society.  The Presidential elections is an obvious example of the necessity a citizen plays, but is only one of many.  Understanding votes is easy, but there so many other ways to get involved in elections.  The basis of getting involved in elections is through the pathways of actions (court, grassroot-mobilization, cultural change, lobbying, elections).  These are the main seeds which have endless potential for growth.  Elections are one of the pathways for a citizen to get involved.  Deciding who to vote for is the first main issue a citizen faces.  Grassroot Mobilization is a way to draw attention to a candidate.  In addition to all the other pathways in government, I learned that a citizen must take an active role using pathways to become an avid voter. Voting is only a start to getting involved in elections, there are many other aspects a person can get involved in, especially in media and internet.  Insight on how elections work is just one example of the importance of a citizen.  The fundamental of American government is the citizen, and knowing one’s value is key.

Overall, the use of internet was the most unique, and boundless part of the course.  Through it I rediscovered a new area of knowledge, and interaction.  It has helped me become a well rounded citizen, and gave insight to information I didn’t understand before.  Taking a passive role as a citizen nulls the efforts a democracy creates.  Additionally, taking an active role as a citizen but remaining ignorant is just as bad.  Not participating as a citizen cancels the idea, ideology, and overall beliefs of America.  Active involvement in government, in addition to knowledge is essential for the system to work properly.  Information is readily available to anyone who seeks it; government has taught me that.

Participation in the election process is one key role an active citizen must engage in

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