Thoughts on Being an American Citizen

On Sunday night a week ago it was very windy in the middle of the night. Big changes often occur in my life when there is a lot of wind.

I woke up and was thinking about something I said in my post Voting for America. After voting intelligently and intentionally for the first time in my life, I wrote, “This feels so good to vote. I feel like a citizen now instead of just a resident. I hadn’t thought about writing those words, they just popped out.

And since, I’ve been wanting to know the difference between a resident and a citizen.

Then I happened to come across a passage in a book that said there was a difference between a member of a society that only paid their dues but didn’t participate and a member who paid their dues and studied the materials of the society and applied what they learned in their lives.

I came to a conclusion that a resident is simply someone who lives in America for some length of time and a citizen is someone who is native-born or naturalized, who owes allegiance to the government and participates in the activities of the nation, and therefore is entitled to benefits and protection from it. A citizen actually participates in the country and doesn’t just go along for the ride.

From this I realized that to be a citizen means some very specific things, and I had no idea what they were.