American Citizenship

Making Americans -- Uncivil War - Independence Day - A New Birth of Freedom - American Citizenship

I really liked this Deseret News profile of a naturalized citizen.

Airman 1st Class Elena Dulger’s face lights up the room when she talks about her first chance to participate in a democratic election.

Dulger, 21, is taking her oath of citizenship today, seven years and one day after meeting her father at JFK International Airport in New York. After becoming an official U.S. citizen, Dulger will get her passport, and she plans on registering to vote.

“A lot of people don’t realize how important (voting) is,” she said. “It is a privilege.”

This is how every American citizen should feel about voting. (I’m not delusional enough to actually believe that we will ever have a time when every citizen actually does feel that way.) I seriously wish we could find a way to limit the right to vote to those people who do recognize the importance of that privilege.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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8 Responses to American Citizenship

  1. Reach Upward says:

    We do. The people that don’t recognize the importance of the privilege of voting simply don’t vote. Thus, they exclude themselves from the privilege. We don’t need any other exclusion mechanism.

    What we need is a greater awareness of the importance of political awareness and involvement so that people are motivated to become informed and vote. The last thing I want is people voting that are uninformed or apathetic about it.

  2. David says:

    I agree with your second paragraph and people excluding themselves from voting works partially, but I don’t think it’s sufficient. Our politicians pander to the lowest common denominator partially because there are so many people who are vaguely aware that voting is important but they don’t do their homework. They vote based on emotions and pet issues. This helps to allow candidates to avoid anything more than lip-service to the really important issues like fiscal policy while they try to encourage “their base” to vote for them based on issues which only seem important for government.

    For example, abortion. Republicans can play the pro-life card all day long, but in the end the odds of overturning Roe v Wade are slim no matter how the electorate votes. For those that really don’t want abortion, they could beat fully legalized abortion best by finding ways to build a society of individuals with stronger individual moral compasses. The abortion war is won not by making laws against abortion, but by making people who don’t choose that path.

    On the other hand, fiscal policy is the responsibility of our government.

  3. Reach Upward says:

    Good point. But I wonder how many voters throughout the history of the nation have met your standard of being erudite and avoiding pettiness.

    Certainly, the old rule of requiring voters to be property holders was intended to at least somewhat accomplish this goal. But Americans long ago rejected that rule as being too exclusionary.

    How do you make voting exclusive but not too exclusive? That’s a tough question. Obviously we as a nation haven’t yet conceived of any just way to do this.

  4. David says:

    That’s a tough question that I have been trying to figure out for some time. I’m open to suggestions, but you can bet that when I find an answer that I think might be satisfactory I’ll be writing about it here.

  5. Cameron says:

    David, your criticism of laws prohibiting abortion is basically the same as your support for laws prohibiting the uninformed from voting.

    By your logic, we should not have nearly any laws (maybe even none), and should instead just make good people who govern themselves.

    It’s inconsistent to deny people the right to vote and at the same time argue that laws concerning abortion are fruitless.

  6. David says:

    I do not wish to deny people the right to vote – I would never suggest something like making a law that nobody with an IQ of less than 100 (normal intelligence) should be allowed to vote. I merely wish that there were a way to make it just difficult enough to get registered to vote that only those people who truly care about casting an informed vote would make the effort to register.

    Also, I don’t see the connection between my stance on who should vote and my contention that making laws against abortion is less effective than making people who simply won’t choose abortion even if it’s legal.

  7. Cameron says:

    Making it more difficult to vote is basically the same as making it more difficult to have an abortion. You favor one and oppose the other.

    And making it more difficult to vote is basically making a law which denys people the right to vote. Which is exactly how it would be spun were it proposed by a Republican, btw.

    I see your point about wanting to ensure an informed electorate. But Reach makes a good point that even with how easy it is to vote today, most don’t.

    However, at times there are massive “get out the vote” campaigns which focus primarily on single issues. Also, the ease of voting allows for substantial fraud. A couple of years ago there was an instance in Idaho where a campaign basically coerced some very elderly residents of a retirement center to vote for the campaign’s candidate. A stricter registration process would avoid that.

  8. David says:


    I think I understand you position better now. Let me clarify my position on making it more difficult to have an abortion. I do not oppose efforts to make abortion more difficult to obtain, I simply don’t think it’s worth the effort to pursue the goal.

    To put that into perspective – I don’t propose spending any real effort on finding ways to make the voting registration process more stringent either. I think it would be beneficial but since it is so easy to oppose that effort I believe the best course of action is to bypass the effort to craft a legal remedy and focus our attention on crafting a social remedy by advocating the importance of informed civic participation and by doing what little I can to help the people around me to be more informed on the issues that many of them will be voting on anyway.

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