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Do Now #80: What Makes a Good Citizen?

| May 10, 2013 | 87 Comments
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photo by USDAgov/Flickr

photo by USDAgov/Flickr


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

What makes a good citizen? What should be required of a citizen and how do you prove worthiness?

Introduction

Last month, there was quite a rich conversation on KQED Do Now about immigration reform, as students examined the proposed changes to legal immigration to the United States and the path to obtaining citizenship. The discussion focused on immigrant rights and what policy should be put into place to attain citizenship. It invited a further question that examines more deeply the whole idea of citizenship and asks what makes a good citizen? What should be required of a citizen? Does the current application system measure worthiness or should different criteria be taken into consideration? Do you feel you meet these criteria yourself?

The USCIS website specifies what is required to seek US citizenship and clearly explains the value:

“Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.”

But what is important here? Should a good citizen be able to demonstrate commitment through some kind of community involvement, like cleaning beaches, taking care of the environment, or community service? In other words are good character and social responsibility important?

How about social contribution such as skills and expertise or the ability and willingness to work, especially in areas where there is demand for labor.

What about the rights and responsibilities part of the equation? Should you enjoy the benefits of being a citizen of a country if those responsibilities are not met – such as voting and participating in the democratic decision making process? What are the civic responsibilities that go along with citizenship?

And what should you know and understand about America and history to qualify? KQED’s The Lowdown asks: Could You Pass the U.S. Citizenship Test? Applicants are given a short civics test made up of 10 questions about American history and government and need to answer six correctly to pass. This is from the 100 questions they are given to prepare in advance for the test. Along with an English language test and background check, they can prove good standing.

Think about someone who you would consider to be a good citizen and why.

Resource

USCIS video A Promise of Freedom: An Introduction to U.S. History and Civics for Immigrants
This 12-minute film focuses on the history and founding of our nation and the important rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Accompanying the DVD is a discussion booklet that aims to encourage discussion and review of the basic concepts of American democracy outlined in the film. A Promise of Freedom is an excellent way to begin a session on immigration or citizenship. The film is available with English captions.


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can…and any contribution is most welcomed.


More Resources

The Lowdown post Could You Pass the U.S. Citizen Test – May 3, 2013
One of the final requirements in the long road to becoming an American citizen (in addition to an application, an FBI background check, and a three-part English language exam) is passing a short civics test. Applicants are given 10 questions about American history and government (randomly selected from a batch of 100 questions that they are allowed to preview beforehand). The test is given orally, so unlike the quiz below, there is no multiple choice. To pass, applicants must answer at least six questions correctly. The questions in this quiz are adapted from the list of 100 possible questions that could be asked.


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Category: Do Now, Do Now: Government and Civics

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About the Author ()

Maxine Einhorn is from London and has lived in the Bay Area for 12 years. She has worked in adult education in London,UK, for over twenty years as a tenured instructor and department manager. She has an MA in Film and TV from University of London and has taught, moderated and appraised academic work in film studies and media literacy at undergraduate and college level. She runs the ESL/ Post Secondary project at KQED which offers media-rich resources for and created by ESL educators.
  • Stevie Greens

    A good citizen is someone who obeys by the laws and doesn’t cause harm to the country or any body in it. A good citizen will help keep the environment clean and enjoyable to live in. A good citizen doesn’t have to go above and beyond the expectations but has to at least meet the expectations. A good citizen will have a clean record and have no problems with the police.

    • T Ashton

      I don’t necessarily agree with your final claim. I don’t think you have to “have a clean record and have no problems with the police” to be considered a good citizen. I probably would have sided with this claim three years ago but in the last three years I have really come close to and gotten to know my older sister’s fiance. He is a carpenter with tattoos and a big beard. He has a terrible record with the police because he grew up in Heber and did many stupid things that got him in trouble with the police. He even has a DUI on his record but has been sober for two years now. I believe that my sisters fiance is one of the greatest role models in my life and i continue to strive to be like him. He never litters or harms the environment, he now obeys the laws and doesn’t cause harm to the country or anybody in it. And he doesn’t volunteer at a homeless shelter or anything like that but he goes way above and beyond teaching me how to live my life better and helping me learn from his own mistakes to keep me out of trouble with the law. Now my question is, does his record make him a bad or less than good citizen to you? Or do you think maybe this whole good citizen thing is a case by case situation like I do?
      P.S. I agree with all your other points except the clean record because besides my sisters fiance, my dad has trouble with a clean record because he lost a ticket in the mail and couldn’t pay a fine. Now he has a warrant for his arrest in two counties.

  • Stevie Greens

    A good citizen is someone who obeys by the laws and doesn’t cause harm to the country or any body in it. A good citizen will help keep the environment clean and enjoyable to live in. A good citizen doesn’t have to go above and beyond the expectations but has to at least meet the expectations. A good citizen will have a clean record and have no problems with the police.

    • T Ashton

      I don’t necessarily agree with your final claim. I don’t think you have to “have a clean record and have no problems with the police” to be considered a good citizen. I probably would have sided with this claim three years ago but in the last three years I have really come close to and gotten to know my older sister’s fiance. He is a carpenter with tattoos and a big beard. He has a terrible record with the police because he grew up in Heber and did many stupid things that got him in trouble with the police. He even has a DUI on his record but has been sober for two years now. I believe that my sisters fiance is one of the greatest role models in my life and i continue to strive to be like him. He never litters or harms the environment, he now obeys the laws and doesn’t cause harm to the country or anybody in it. And he doesn’t volunteer at a homeless shelter or anything like that but he goes way above and beyond teaching me how to live my life better and helping me learn from his own mistakes to keep me out of trouble with the law. Now my question is, does his record make him a bad or less than good citizen to you? Or do you think maybe this whole good citizen thing is a case by case situation like I do?
      P.S. I agree with all your other points except the clean record because besides my sisters fiance, my dad has trouble with a clean record because he lost a ticket in the mail and couldn’t pay a fine. Now he has a warrant for his arrest in two counties.

  • Angel Figueroa

    I think what makes a good citizen is how you contribute to your country and your effect on the country you live in. Also being a behaved citizen to your country and respecting your country and have loyalty for your country.

    • david jenny

      Being good citizen is very simple. You need to respect the flag. You need to respect the authority of the government and police, and you need to respect your fellow man.

  • Angel Figueroa

    I think what makes a good citizen is how you contribute to your country and your effect on the country you live in. Also being a behaved citizen to your country and respecting your country and have loyalty for your country.

    • david jenny

      Being good citizen is very simple. You need to respect the flag. You need to respect the authority of the government and police, and you need to respect your fellow man.

  • Julia Lipply

    I think a good citizen is someone who is loyal to their country by: not causing any problems with anyone, staying away from the police and violence, not littering, etc. Citizens prove their worthiness by not getting in trouble with the police or the law. They are kind to everyone in their country and they earn their keep.

  • Julia Lipply

    I think a good citizen is someone who is loyal to their country by: not causing any problems with anyone, staying away from the police and violence, not littering, etc. Citizens prove their worthiness by not getting in trouble with the police or the law. They are kind to everyone in their country and they earn their keep.

  • http://education.kqed.org Sara S.

    All citizens have an obligation to their community. A community is only as strong as its weakest member(s). It is up to the members of a community to fulfill their civic responsibility, such as participating in a community clean-up event or voting in a local election. Whether each citizen believes it or not, we all make a difference when we are involved, active citizens.

  • http://education.kqed.org Sara S.

    All citizens have an obligation to their community. A community is only as strong as its weakest member(s). It is up to the members of a community to fulfill their civic responsibility, such as participating in a community clean-up event or voting in a local election. Whether each citizen believes it or not, we all make a difference when we are involved, active citizens.

  • Brandi

    Being a good citizen means that you should know the history of the US. People who live in the US have sat through history classes about the hardships and complications that people faced in the US. A good citizen will also be sure to follow all the laws that are made to keep people safe. They know how to keep peace and not be the one to start trouble.

  • Brandi

    Being a good citizen means that you should know the history of the US. People who live in the US have sat through history classes about the hardships and complications that people faced in the US. A good citizen will also be sure to follow all the laws that are made to keep people safe. They know how to keep peace and not be the one to start trouble.

  • M.O.

    I believe if you live in the United States, part of being a good citizen is, that you want and make it a priority to say the pledge in school. There are men and women fighting for us so we don’t have to and saying the pledge is a big part of acknowledging your commitment and thankfulness to those who are fighting for us. To be a good citizen you need to look out for one another and care for each other. Do your part to keep the world clean and help those in need. Open doors for people when you see their hands are full and they can’t. Help someone carry their groceries to their car. To be a good citizen, you just need to be selfless and help out your fellow citizens.

  • M.O.

    I believe if you live in the United States, part of being a good citizen is, that you want and make it a priority to say the pledge in school. There are men and women fighting for us so we don’t have to and saying the pledge is a big part of acknowledging your commitment and thankfulness to those who are fighting for us. To be a good citizen you need to look out for one another and care for each other. Do your part to keep the world clean and help those in need. Open doors for people when you see their hands are full and they can’t. Help someone carry their groceries to their car. To be a good citizen, you just need to be selfless and help out your fellow citizens.

  • Amber

    I think a good citizen is someone who is loyal to their country. Also by staying away from the police and violence, not littering, and not causing trouble. A good citizen will also be sure to follow all the laws and not break them on purpose. They know how to keep peace and not be the one to start trouble.

  • Amber

    I think a good citizen is someone who is loyal to their country. Also by staying away from the police and violence, not littering, and not causing trouble. A good citizen will also be sure to follow all the laws and not break them on purpose. They know how to keep peace and not be the one to start trouble.

  • Sam Stevens

    I think to be a good citizen you need to follow the rules and be proud to say you’re from America. I love my country and I would die to protect our freedoms here, that’s why I’m joining the military after college.

  • Sam Stevens

    I think to be a good citizen you need to follow the rules and be proud to say you’re from America. I love my country and I would die to protect our freedoms here, that’s why I’m joining the military after college.

  • Jake

    A good citizen is someone who gives back to the community and obeys the laws. They care about the welfare of others. This person should be devoted to the community and they should live in the community for a long time.

  • Jake

    A good citizen is someone who gives back to the community and obeys the laws. They care about the welfare of others. This person should be devoted to the community and they should live in the community for a long time.

  • Lauren

    In my opinion a good citizen is someone who obeys the laws and doesn’t cause chaos in the community. While participating in community service, community activities, and help keeping the environment clean and healthy. I don’t believe that you are a bad citizens if you do not participate in activities such as these.

  • Lauren

    In my opinion a good citizen is someone who obeys the laws and doesn’t cause chaos in the community. While participating in community service, community activities, and help keeping the environment clean and healthy. I don’t believe that you are a bad citizens if you do not participate in activities such as these.

  • Brandon Strong

    I think what makes a good citizen, is someone who shows pride, someone who helps out and is welling to lend a hand, and someone who gives back to the community.

  • Brandon Strong

    I think what makes a good citizen, is someone who shows pride, someone who helps out and is welling to lend a hand, and someone who gives back to the community.

  • Kristi

    A good citizen is someone who follows the rules and stay’s away from all the trouble. Participating in all community activities and helping out is a good thing, but just because you don’t do it doesn’t make you a bad person. I think that being a good citizen doesn’t mean you have to know all the U.S. history because some people that are U.S. Citizen don’t have a clue about their history while some that aren’t from here know more than them.

  • Kristi

    A good citizen is someone who follows the rules and stay’s away from all the trouble. Participating in all community activities and helping out is a good thing, but just because you don’t do it doesn’t make you a bad person. I think that being a good citizen doesn’t mean you have to know all the U.S. history because some people that are U.S. Citizen don’t have a clue about their history while some that aren’t from here know more than them.

  • April

    A good citizen is someone that follows the regulations of the laws, and respects the rights given to them, and the country itself. I understand that we hold the Bill of Rights, and have the Freedom of Speech, but in this country, we must respect each other, especially those that have given up so much to maintain these rights. Many soldiers have died to maintain and give the people rights to this country, and as good citizens we should respect that and give back. I also feel that we need to understand our government and history. That is very important, and all citizens should know the main, specific events that have occurred within this country.

  • April

    A good citizen is someone that follows the regulations of the laws, and respects the rights given to them, and the country itself. I understand that we hold the Bill of Rights, and have the Freedom of Speech, but in this country, we must respect each other, especially those that have given up so much to maintain these rights. Many soldiers have died to maintain and give the people rights to this country, and as good citizens we should respect that and give back. I also feel that we need to understand our government and history. That is very important, and all citizens should know the main, specific events that have occurred within this country.

  • Alex

    A good citizen follows all the laws and is involved with community activities. They might help out with the school and community service. If you don’t do these things it doesn’t mean your a bad citizen. Good citizen are good just by following the laws you can be and a hard working person.

  • Alex

    A good citizen follows all the laws and is involved with community activities. They might help out with the school and community service. If you don’t do these things it doesn’t mean your a bad citizen. Good citizen are good just by following the laws you can be and a hard working person.

  • Ramon Luna

    A good citizen would definitely be someone that follows the laws but also someone that is a productive person to society. And really does contributes to the country.

  • Ramon Luna

    A good citizen would definitely be someone that follows the laws but also someone that is a productive person to society. And really does contributes to the country.

  • Cristal

    A good citizen is someone who follows the rules and and stays out of trouble. But most importantly a good citizen wants to help improve not only their lives, but the lives around them. They help their community when it most needs it. I don’t think that it is necessary to know everything about our history in order to be a citizen. People that were born here and studied the history basically their whole lives, still can’t pass the citizenship test. Not to mention a lot of our history isn’t that good. In fact a lot of our history is based on lies and cruelty.

  • Cristal

    A good citizen is someone who follows the rules and and stays out of trouble. But most importantly a good citizen wants to help improve not only their lives, but the lives around them. They help their community when it most needs it. I don’t think that it is necessary to know everything about our history in order to be a citizen. People that were born here and studied the history basically their whole lives, still can’t pass the citizenship test. Not to mention a lot of our history isn’t that good. In fact a lot of our history is based on lies and cruelty.

  • Tyler Poe

    a good citizen is someone who understands there place in the world, and they are okay with that place. A good citizen is someone who represents his or her country well when they go on trips. A good citizen is someone who takes an interest in there government and does something if they don’t like what is going on in there government.

  • Tyler Poe

    a good citizen is someone who understands there place in the world, and they are okay with that place. A good citizen is someone who represents his or her country well when they go on trips. A good citizen is someone who takes an interest in there government and does something if they don’t like what is going on in there government.

  • Tyler Poe

    a good citizen is someone who understands there place in the world, and they are okay with that place. A good citizen is someone who represents his or her country well when they go on trips. A good citizen is someone who takes an interest in there government and does something if they don’t like what is going on in there government. #kqeddonow@rapoch

  • Tyler Poe

    a good citizen is someone who understands there place in the world, and they are okay with that place. A good citizen is someone who represents his or her country well when they go on trips. A good citizen is someone who takes an interest in there government and does something if they don’t like what is going on in there government. #kqeddonow@rapoch

  • Nick

    To me, a good citizen is someone who simply lives their life and doesn’t cause a lot of trouble. All that really entails is that you live your daily life taking care of your various responsibilities, and if you can help someone out.

  • Nick

    To me, a good citizen is someone who simply lives their life and doesn’t cause a lot of trouble. All that really entails is that you live your daily life taking care of your various responsibilities, and if you can help someone out.

  • http://juliawilkins.wordpress.com Julia Wilkins

    In my opinion, a good citizen is someone who spends their life trying to fulfill the purpose that they feel they were created for. I believe that being a good citizen extends so much further than simply following Constitutional rights and being involved in the government. A good citizen is someone who aims to make a mark on the world before it is their time to pass; someone whose lack of presence is almost more noticeable than their present presence. A good citizen looks to help the people they are surrounded by and always puts others first before themselves.

    A good citizen is someone who isn’t content with just going through the motions as life flies by around them.

  • http://juliawilkins.wordpress.com Julia Wilkins

    In my opinion, a good citizen is someone who spends their life trying to fulfill the purpose that they feel they were created for. I believe that being a good citizen extends so much further than simply following Constitutional rights and being involved in the government. A good citizen is someone who aims to make a mark on the world before it is their time to pass; someone whose lack of presence is almost more noticeable than their present presence. A good citizen looks to help the people they are surrounded by and always puts others first before themselves.

    A good citizen is someone who isn’t content with just going through the motions as life flies by around them.

  • Andrew Avino

    A good citizen is someone who obeys the laws and doesn’t cause chaos in the community. A good citizen also helps make the community a better place and also an enjoyable place to live. Another characteristic of a good citizen is a person that is proud of where they are from and proud to represent their country.

  • Andrew Avino

    A good citizen is someone who obeys the laws and doesn’t cause chaos in the community. A good citizen also helps make the community a better place and also an enjoyable place to live. Another characteristic of a good citizen is a person that is proud of where they are from and proud to represent their country.

  • Alec M.

    I would say a good citizen is someone who abides by all the laws set forth by the United States of America. And they also support the country as a whole, rather than some people who just come here for the jobs but hate the country entirely. As for foreigners applying for citizenship, I feel that the qualifications that they have to meet now are adequate.

  • Alec M.

    I would say a good citizen is someone who abides by all the laws set forth by the United States of America. And they also support the country as a whole, rather than some people who just come here for the jobs but hate the country entirely. As for foreigners applying for citizenship, I feel that the qualifications that they have to meet now are adequate.

  • Troy K.

    I find that a good citizen is someone who follows the law and does their best to work towards something to contribute to society. A good citizen also exercises it’s rights by voicing it’s opinion by voting and taking part in their community. Although I don’t think that their rights should be abused in a way that violence is a first resort to an issue with the government. Other than that, I don’t find it extremely important to have a qualifying test for citizenship by knowing American history. Maybe as a medium for those who believe in that sort of thing and those who think history is a large part in becoming a citizen, the tests should contain only basic knowledge in American history.

  • Troy K.

    I find that a good citizen is someone who follows the law and does their best to work towards something to contribute to society. A good citizen also exercises it’s rights by voicing it’s opinion by voting and taking part in their community. Although I don’t think that their rights should be abused in a way that violence is a first resort to an issue with the government. Other than that, I don’t find it extremely important to have a qualifying test for citizenship by knowing American history. Maybe as a medium for those who believe in that sort of thing and those who think history is a large part in becoming a citizen, the tests should contain only basic knowledge in American history.

  • Jacqueline Emmons

    Being a good citizen means abiding by the laws of your country, respecting your country, and respecting those around you. Cleaning up beaches does not make a good citizen, however. Plenty of people who don’t clean up beaches are still good citizens by contributing to their country by fulfilling their duty to vote, paying their taxes, etc. I do think it’s important to have some knowledge about the U.S. government before becoming a citizen. Knowing the difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate is crucial if someone is to keep in touch with current events, plus natural-born citizens of the United States are taught the basics of the U.S. government from a very young age, so applying citizens should have knowledge of this same information to be an informed citizen.

  • Jacqueline Emmons

    Being a good citizen means abiding by the laws of your country, respecting your country, and respecting those around you. Cleaning up beaches does not make a good citizen, however. Plenty of people who don’t clean up beaches are still good citizens by contributing to their country by fulfilling their duty to vote, paying their taxes, etc. I do think it’s important to have some knowledge about the U.S. government before becoming a citizen. Knowing the difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate is crucial if someone is to keep in touch with current events, plus natural-born citizens of the United States are taught the basics of the U.S. government from a very young age, so applying citizens should have knowledge of this same information to be an informed citizen.

  • Michael C.

    I think a good citizen is someone who follows all the rules and doesn’t get in trouble with the law. Good citizens might help out with the schools and do community service. But you don’t have to do all that to be a good citizen. To me the best way to be a good citizen is to just do all the right things.

  • Michael C.

    I think a good citizen is someone who follows all the rules and doesn’t get in trouble with the law. Good citizens might help out with the schools and do community service. But you don’t have to do all that to be a good citizen. To me the best way to be a good citizen is to just do all the right things.

  • Michael C.

    I think a good citizen is someone who follows all the rules and doesn’t get in trouble with the law. Good citizens might help out with the schools and do community service. But you don’t have to do all that to be a good citizen. To me the best way to be a good citizen is to just do all the right things.

  • Danielle B.

    Legal citizenship and compliance to the laws of one’s country are two strong aspects of being a “good” citizen. However, there are many other contributions that one must offer to the country before he/she can be considered a good citizen. For example, a good citizen is passionate and active in his/her community. A good citizen is not afraid to propose change and speak up for what he/she believes in. At the same time, not all good citizens require these outspoken traits. If a citizen is a good person and respects his/her country, it’s safe to say that he/she is a good citizen.

  • Danielle B.

    Legal citizenship and compliance to the laws of one’s country are two strong aspects of being a “good” citizen. However, there are many other contributions that one must offer to the country before he/she can be considered a good citizen. For example, a good citizen is passionate and active in his/her community. A good citizen is not afraid to propose change and speak up for what he/she believes in. At the same time, not all good citizens require these outspoken traits. If a citizen is a good person and respects his/her country, it’s safe to say that he/she is a good citizen.

  • Danielle B.

    Legal citizenship and compliance to the laws of one’s country are two strong aspects of being a “good” citizen. However, there are many other contributions that one must offer to the country before he/she can be considered a good citizen. For example, a good citizen is passionate and active in his/her community. A good citizen is not afraid to propose change and speak up for what he/she believes in. At the same time, not all good citizens require these outspoken traits. If a citizen is a good person and respects his/her country, it’s safe to say that he/she is a good citizen.

  • Kelly

    A good citizen is someone that does the right thing. There can be many different ways that people can be a good citizen. Most people are good citizen but they do not get recognized for their good deeds. Everyone does good deeds but they do it little by little and other take it to another level. What I mean by taking it to another level is by them doing good deeds but try t show it to the whole world. Not everyone will get recognize but they will get recognize by the people around them. But in your heart, you will feel good because you did something right. And that’s how you want to feel because it will make you happy.

  • Kelly

    A good citizen is someone that does the right thing. There can be many different ways that people can be a good citizen. Most people are good citizen but they do not get recognized for their good deeds. Everyone does good deeds but they do it little by little and other take it to another level. What I mean by taking it to another level is by them doing good deeds but try t show it to the whole world. Not everyone will get recognize but they will get recognize by the people around them. But in your heart, you will feel good because you did something right. And that’s how you want to feel because it will make you happy.

  • Nick M

    This brings up the interesting question not just of what makes a good citizen, but whether Americans who are born here live up to their citizenship. Immigrants have to jump through several “hoops”, paper work, tests, and whatnot all to prove they are a worthy citizen. Yet many Americans who live here can’t name the first five presidents of the Unites States in order, some can’t even tell you all fifty states. While these things are important (and it may be embarassing for me to note the ignorance by many Americans of U.S. history), what is most important is determining the quality of a person’s moral standing. As difficult as that may be, a nation may only stand on the foundation of morality, of laws and people who stand for justice, stand for the highest good every individual deserves. Without this, a nation grows unstable and can erupt into a chaotic mess. A good citizen is immeasurable by the number of presidents or states a person can name. A citizen is “measured” (if one can equate such things) by their integrity, determination for justice, and an overall standing for the common good. Concrete ways one can exhibit these virtues are through educating oneself before the vote, understanding the law and, if certain laws stand out as immoral, taking a stand for change to preserve the United States as a nation founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    • Julia

      I think this brings up a great point. Being a good citizen should not be based on if you born here or somewhere else. What should matter is that the person cares about their community and those around them. A good citizen is someone who abides by the laws, and as you said- takes a stand for change if a law if seen as immoral. There are numerous qualities that make a “good citizen”, and simply it is someone who “does the right thing”.

  • Nick M

    This brings up the interesting question not just of what makes a good citizen, but whether Americans who are born here live up to their citizenship. Immigrants have to jump through several “hoops”, paper work, tests, and whatnot all to prove they are a worthy citizen. Yet many Americans who live here can’t name the first five presidents of the Unites States in order, some can’t even tell you all fifty states. While these things are important (and it may be embarassing for me to note the ignorance by many Americans of U.S. history), what is most important is determining the quality of a person’s moral standing. As difficult as that may be, a nation may only stand on the foundation of morality, of laws and people who stand for justice, stand for the highest good every individual deserves. Without this, a nation grows unstable and can erupt into a chaotic mess. A good citizen is immeasurable by the number of presidents or states a person can name. A citizen is “measured” (if one can equate such things) by their integrity, determination for justice, and an overall standing for the common good. Concrete ways one can exhibit these virtues are through educating oneself before the vote, understanding the law and, if certain laws stand out as immoral, taking a stand for change to preserve the United States as a nation founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    • Julia

      I think this brings up a great point. Being a good citizen should not be based on if you born here or somewhere else. What should matter is that the person cares about their community and those around them. A good citizen is someone who abides by the laws, and as you said- takes a stand for change if a law if seen as immoral. There are numerous qualities that make a “good citizen”, and simply it is someone who “does the right thing”.

  • EP

    A good citizen is someone who actively takes a part in maintaining the principles our country was founded on, or working towards making changes in our systems so that these same principles can be met. For some this may be running for public office, where for others in may simply be by writing letters to their elected officials. One action every citizen should do is vote. This is the biggest way that you can show your commitment, and also shows that you actually care about what happens to our country. I feel that anyone who wants to takes part in any of these activities, and has a desire to improve our nation has the necessary characteristics to be a good citizen.

  • EP

    A good citizen is someone who actively takes a part in maintaining the principles our country was founded on, or working towards making changes in our systems so that these same principles can be met. For some this may be running for public office, where for others in may simply be by writing letters to their elected officials. One action every citizen should do is vote. This is the biggest way that you can show your commitment, and also shows that you actually care about what happens to our country. I feel that anyone who wants to takes part in any of these activities, and has a desire to improve our nation has the necessary characteristics to be a good citizen.

  • Chris

    A good citizen is proud of his country, but is also willing to admit that his country has problems. Everyone thinks their country is the best, but if you can admit that you aren’t the best in all areas, then that’s better.

  • Chris

    A good citizen is proud of his country, but is also willing to admit that his country has problems. Everyone thinks their country is the best, but if you can admit that you aren’t the best in all areas, then that’s better.

  • Alex M

    A good citizen needs to follow the laws, respect other citizens, and take part in being a citizen and helping our country improve by doing things like voting and helping others when they need to. A good citizen is always active in improving our country, whether it is doing community service or simply voicing an opinion.

  • Alex M

    A good citizen needs to follow the laws, respect other citizens, and take part in being a citizen and helping our country improve by doing things like voting and helping others when they need to. A good citizen is always active in improving our country, whether it is doing community service or simply voicing an opinion.

  • JM

    A good citizen is someone who obeys all the fair laws and strives to improve their lives and the lives of others.

  • JM

    A good citizen is someone who obeys all the fair laws and strives to improve their lives and the lives of others.

  • Sean Mac

    I agree with statements above that being a good citizen include the typical following the law and being an active part of community. One thing that many people have neglected mentioning is that good citizens vote, plain and simple. In a country like the U.S people don’t realize just how important and extraordinary this “basic” right we are given is. People around the world would literally die to be able to experience the political freedom that we often overlook. Good citizens are those who realize how lucky they are to be able to vote, and capitalize in this opportunity.

  • Sean Mac

    I agree with statements above that being a good citizen include the typical following the law and being an active part of community. One thing that many people have neglected mentioning is that good citizens vote, plain and simple. In a country like the U.S people don’t realize just how important and extraordinary this “basic” right we are given is. People around the world would literally die to be able to experience the political freedom that we often overlook. Good citizens are those who realize how lucky they are to be able to vote, and capitalize in this opportunity.

  • IR

    A good citizen follows laws with purpose and reason and challenges those without merit. A good citizen fulfills his or her democratic responsibility by speaking up and showing up – by voting and making his or her voice heard. A good citizen does not break the law merely for the purpose of doing so, but does force the government and others around them to question and reevaluate. A good citizen first and foremost fulfills his or responsibility to society by voting – it is a privilege far too many people are died and we must take advantage. A good citizen recognizes the benefits and flaws of society, willing to accept the opinions of others.

  • IR

    A good citizen follows laws with purpose and reason and challenges those without merit. A good citizen fulfills his or her democratic responsibility by speaking up and showing up – by voting and making his or her voice heard. A good citizen does not break the law merely for the purpose of doing so, but does force the government and others around them to question and reevaluate. A good citizen first and foremost fulfills his or responsibility to society by voting – it is a privilege far too many people are died and we must take advantage. A good citizen recognizes the benefits and flaws of society, willing to accept the opinions of others.

  • Sam Rob

    A good citizen is someone who does good for the nation and is loyal to the nation. This person may not hurt the nation in any way. To be a good citizen you need to follow the law and be as charitable as possible. People need to start becoming better citizens so this world can succeed and thrive in the moment.

  • Sam Rob

    A good citizen is someone who does good for the nation and is loyal to the nation. This person may not hurt the nation in any way. To be a good citizen you need to follow the law and be as charitable as possible. People need to start becoming better citizens so this world can succeed and thrive in the moment.

    • Wyatt S.

      I think that if you obey the laws, you will be a good citizen. but you cant be to careful.

  • Kane

    I believe that being a good citizen means obeying the law at every instance you can. To prove your worthiness, it is important to do all you can to persuade others to follow the same rules and enforce them for the sake of helping your fellow citizens. Community service or involvement is also very important.

  • Kane

    I believe that being a good citizen means obeying the law at every instance you can. To prove your worthiness, it is important to do all you can to persuade others to follow the same rules and enforce them for the sake of helping your fellow citizens. Community service or involvement is also very important.

  • Sabiha

    A good citizen is not someone who sings the praise of his/her respective country. It is someone who appreciates the good while constantly finding ways to better the negative aspects. A good citizen cares about their home, their neighbors, and respecting the laws and rules entrusted upon them.

  • Sabiha

    A good citizen is not someone who sings the praise of his/her respective country. It is someone who appreciates the good while constantly finding ways to better the negative aspects. A good citizen cares about their home, their neighbors, and respecting the laws and rules entrusted upon them.

  • Sophia

    I think a good citizen is some one who obeys the law and volunteers in their community to make it a better place to live. The only way we could succeed and grow as a nation is with team work. If we don’t work together and help each other out this country would be a horrible place to live. The reason we are where we are now is from working as a team and being good U.S. citizens. If you obey the law your being a great role model for the children and generations after you who will carry your good actions.

  • Sophia

    I think a good citizen is some one who obeys the law and volunteers in their community to make it a better place to live. The only way we could succeed and grow as a nation is with team work. If we don’t work together and help each other out this country would be a horrible place to live. The reason we are where we are now is from working as a team and being good U.S. citizens. If you obey the law your being a great role model for the children and generations after you who will carry your good actions.

  • AXEL GARCIA

    I DONT THINK HIS DREAM IS IN REALITY YET. MOSTLY BECAUSE THERES SOME RACISM. RACIAL PROFILING IVE HEARD OF A CASE IN CAROLINA WHERE A MAN AND HIS FAMILY WERE KICKED OUT OF BUFALO WILD. BECAUSE SOMEONE FELT THREATENED.

  • AXEL GARCIA

    I DONT THINK HIS DREAM IS IN REALITY YET. MOSTLY BECAUSE THERES SOME RACISM. RACIAL PROFILING IVE HEARD OF A CASE IN CAROLINA WHERE A MAN AND HIS FAMILY WERE KICKED OUT OF BUFALO WILD. BECAUSE SOMEONE FELT THREATENED.