Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

Lazy versus Active Citizens: What is the difference?

By visiting this blog you already show interest in making a change in this world. Hopefully you are going to be active citizen, something I strive for myself. But do we even know what an active citizen is? Might be important to get this clear before we enthusiastically start transforming our lives. According to Oxford Dictionaries an active citizen is someone who “actively takes responsibility and initiative in areas of public concern”. To be honest, this definition is still a bit vague to me, so I’m going to try to give you a better explanation.

A normal, or lazy, citizen is someone who might take the effort to look into the programs of different parties before voting during the national elections, but will not participate in the promotion of one particular party. He will go about his daily life without being concerned about his own society. He will probably complain about certain aspects to fellow lazy citizens, how the taxes are too high, the allowances too low, and don’t forget about those annoying youngsters down the street! But will he do something about it? No. It is all about complaining and hoping someone else will take it upon oneself to change the situation. This person, ladies and gentlemen, is who we call the active citizen.

An active citizen chooses to not just look at our society and accept it how it is, he also sees the faults of it and will not just ignore these or complain about them, but will attempt to do something about it. For example, this person will help with the promotion of a party which promises to lower the taxes, or will campaign for the opening of a youth activity center to make sure the kids stay of the streets. As Staffan Nelson, the current president of the European Economic and Social Committee, said “Active citizenship is the glue that keeps society together”. It is my plan to offer you many different examples of active citizens since it it doesn’t matter whether you devote all of your free time to campaigning for a policy change or just one hour every week volunteering to teach an illiterate adult to read, “it is the commitment to the welfare of society that counts” (Staffan Nelson).

References:

  • Nelson S. Forword to Active Citizenship for a Better European Society. Brussels: EESC, 2012.
  • Oxford University Press. “Active citizen”. Accessed November 14, 2014. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/active-citizen
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