21st Century Obligations

By Frank F Islam & Ed Crego, March 3, 2023 (Image credits: Tom de Boor, Adobe, et al)

Many think that the official motto of the United States is ‘e pluribus unum” — from many one. It is not. In fact, given the national drift toward divisiveness over the past few years, that saying should probably be reversed to “e unum pluribus” — from one many.

Again, many readers will have their own ideas. We might be better off if some or even many of these changes came to pass. But few are likely to, in no small part because the same problems that have led to the weakening of democracy have made it difficult to fix it. It is not just that the process of reform is arduous, it is more that those who perceive the changes would restrain their rights will oppose them. This is where obligations come in: American democracy will work and reform will prove possible only if obligations join rights at center stage.

Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.

We think and say give them time, too — the pivot points and those pivot persons (citizens and leaders) who will continue to work those points until the necessary and desired outcome is achieved.

It may not be this year. It may not be the next. It may take until the end of this decade — and possibly even longer. Eventually it will be done because time is on the side of those with patience, persistence and principles to work the pivot points to make America work again.