Opinion

What does it mean to be a good citizen today?

Is the very definition of what it means to be a citizen in a modern democracy changing?

Do today’s citizens have the time to fulfill this obligation; to be adequately informed? Have the issues become too complex; the barriers to participation too high? Certainly, being a “citizen” has always been about more than just voting, as the writers on this page suggest.

One writer argues that the ability to “hear” people with whom you disagree is an important democratic skill, an idea that is central to the Public Issues Forum model.

Another sees the importance of developing a sense of responsibility toward the greater community. A third perspective suggests that neither is adequate unless we also reform the system.

But where — and how — are “democratic” skills to be learned? Is the next generation prepared to nourish and defend a democratic society? What must our children think of democracy as it is currently practiced? What is our responsibility to teach democracy to the next generation?

These are some of the questions we will address next week.

An important goal of our forums is for those who attend to come to a better understanding of why people with different viewpoints see the issue in the way that they do; another is to discover our areas of common understanding. Our goal is to provide a space for these conversations to occur.

As always, your voice is not only important; it’s essential. Please join us.

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