• Radhika Iyengar

Seven Habits of Highly Effective (U.S.) CITIZENs

Building towards global citizenship virtues

by Nidhi Thakur

1. They VOTE(as often as they can, but especially in the general election that everyone agrees is the election for the ‘soul’ of the world’s most developed country).

2. They VOTE, even when the act of voting is just a choice, not a mandated duty like ‘jury duty’. No one will put them in jail for not voting, but they know that voting is the bedrock of democracy (unlike dictatorship and monarchy).

3. They VOTE, despite a global pandemic, because, either they have a no-hassle mail-in ballot, or even if they have to physically stand in a line to vote, they vote, because they realise, and strongly cherish, their RIGHT TO VOTE, knowing fully well that this right is a privilege acquired after many a hardships. (They are amazed to learn that African Americans did not win the right to vote until the 15thAmendment to the U.S. constitution in 1870- approximately a 100 years after Independence, and that women were not granted this right up until the 19thAmendment in 1920!).

4. They VOTE, because the right to vote is granted to only ‘special’ people- who are at least 18 years of age on voting day, have legal (and sometimes hard earned) citizenship of the U.S.A. and are eligible to vote as per the specific rules of the State they are registered to vote in. Being ‘special’ enough to be thus granted this right, is not something that they take lightly. (https://www.usa.gov/who-can-vote)

5. They VOTE, because each vote matters way more than one imagines. Of the 240 million eligible voters this year, going by past trends, approximately 40% of these voters may NOT vote. This number would not be troubling, if elections were NOT as close as they have been in recent years. For example, the 2016 election went one way versus the other largely because of non-voters in the state of PA.

6. They VOTE because voting record is public information! They know that their peers/employers/families (can) know whether they voted or not.

(Please note: WHO they voted for is ALWAYS confidential, but whether they voted or not is not.

Source: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/access-to-and-use-of-voter-registration-lists.aspx)

7. They Vote because all civic societies are formed by/around laws and laws are formed by elected officials. They know that their only shot at influencing the laws that are made, is by ELECTING the people who reflect their sense of basic/universal human value.

Dr Thakur can be contacted --nthakur@kean.edu

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