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Being an American citizen is not a privilege but more of an honor. To grow up in a world of freedom where the possibilities are endless is what being an American is all about! Picking your career path, religion or even whom you wish to marry are all decisions Americans are allowed to make through our freedom as a citizen. Being an American means treating everyone with respect and never judging one another’s skin color, religion, or personal beliefs. Today’s society is defined as a “melting pot of culture” according to The Smithsonian’s Second Opinion.
To be an American means to be loyal to our great nation. Being a member of this country grants one with many possibilities, rights and privileges but with all this freedom comes responsibilities that citizens must maintain in order to insure America stays known as the land of the free. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has created a list known as the “Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities”.
“Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
” and “Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.” are the two rules from the list of Responsibilities that I’ll be addressing within this essay. Throughout this paper I’ll provide insight on high profile people who have failed to maintain their responsibilities as a United States citizen as well as addresses any other responsibilities or rights that should be added to the list.
The seventh rule off the list of responsibilities that United States citizens should follow is “Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.” Paying your taxes is your civic duty as a citizen. The money made from taxes pays for things like government funding, new roads, public education, your local fire station and much more. Although paying your taxes is viewed as a civic duty its actually a requirement of the law. The amount of money an individual earns within a year determines how high your taxes are. Typically the higher your earings, the higher your taxes will be. High profile people such as Nicolas Cage, John Travolta and many others have been tangled with the IRS or charged for tax evasion. Nicolas Cage contributed to the national debt by approximately $6 million according to the IRS’ 2009 charge. The CNN/ORC polls results showed that 86% of registered voters agreed that paying your taxes is a civil duty. Paying your taxes benefits your community, your state and your nation as a whole.
The second responsibility from the list I’ll further explore is “Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws”. Implementing laws creates society norms and sets guidelines for generation after generation to follow. This is the key to a well functioning society. We have laws that protect our general safety as well as laws that protect our equal rights. Ranging from health department laws to speed limits, these laws have all been put into place to benefit every citizen. Van Hoffman, B.A., J.D. says “Respect for the law is not merely not doing something negative but is actually doing something positive.
Respect for the law is behaving in such a way that you act affirmatively to manifest a respect the law.” The value of respecting and obeying all laws is what responsibility is all about. Each year many high profile people break the law. Whether it be a speeding ticket or assault, laws are set into place which punish individuals accordingly for their crime. One of the most high profile cases known as “O.J Simpson vs The People” is a prime example of high profile people failing to achieve the standards. To summarize, laws are essential to nations success.
Out of all the “Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities” I believe “Participate in the democratic process.” is the most important. If you want change within our society it must start with you. Voting is the most important process that will result in change. If you don’t participate in the democratic process you silence your voice. The University of Minnesota’s Humans Rights Center believes “One of the most critical ways that individuals can influence governmental decision-making is through voting.” which I think is 100% true. Being able to vote whom you want into office is a privilege that we, United States citizens get to carry out.
All things considered, the “Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities” should be practiced and respected throughout this nation by every single American to ensure that the United States remains a free and prosperous nation.
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