OPINION: Selecting and correcting government officials is the job and the duty of citizens in a democracy

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

For parents, their job is to sufficiently provide for and raise their children. 

For teachers, their job is to effectively instruct and guide their students. 

For students, their job is to study diligently and develop. 

For government officials, their job is to make and carry out just laws. 

For every station or position in life, there is a definite job and a critical duty that each person should assume. 

Being a citizen in a democracy, one’s job and duty is to select, monitor, and correct office-holders.

It is unfortunate that many people do not take this seriously. As a consequence, governments often do not function as well as they should. Even worse, if things continue in that vein, democratic government in America will be dead and gone.

The remedy is no mystery. In the matter of selecting officials, one needs to take the time to get to know and understand the character of the candidate, the kinds of things he/she has done or at least publicly stood for in the past, the kinds of people/groups with whom he/she has associated and/or depends upon for support, and his/her understanding of the position being sought. These are just basics. 

Often, there may not be a suitable candidate for a particular office, in which case, a committed citizen should encourage and mention a suitable person for the position rather than either sitting out the election or choosing the better of two bad or weak candidates. Once selected, that person needs to be fully supported.

In making a choice between the candidates running for office, especially if one is an incumbent or has served in other offices before, citizens should feel duty-bound to remember their actions, and then reward or punish them for those past political actions. Too often citizens do not have “long memories.” Too often they are willing to forgive and forget, thereby losing a good official who could continue doing those good things or helping to re-elect a bad official who can “do it to them again.”

Along that same line, when choosing a candidate, citizens must look at the total record of the candidate, not just one particular issue that they favor or oppose. Choosing the candidate, thus, becomes a matter of whether the official has done more good than bad, whether or not the good or bad which he/she has done out-weighs that of the opposing candidate.

Once an official has been elected, whether they were the voter’s choice or not, he/she should be closely monitored and steered aright as much as possible. After all, the official is supposed to be representing the citizen. When he/she is not doing a good job representing the community, citizens have the right and duty to organize, lobby, and pressure him/her in such a way that there is a change or that the individual holding the position is changed.

While the writer is aware that perhaps nothing new is said in this article, too many people simply do not follow through on what they know is sound advice. They become so lax in their duty, so disappointed with how things have often gone politically, so caught up in the surroundings, or otherwise have just not been a good democratic citizen. 

Whatever has been the excuse, the time is out for such excuses. Otherwise, those who have no appreciation for democracy and would prefer that their group in total political control will wipe out even the measured amount of democracy that exists in this country. Just as other democratic republics elsewhere have fallen, America will be no exception. As citizens, we must be up performing our job / doing our duty. 

Republish This Story

Copy and Paste the below text.

OPINION: Selecting and correcting government officials is the job and the duty of citizens in a democracy

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
May 29, 2023