The Friends of the People by Isaac Cruikshank (1756–1811)
The Friends of the People by Isaac Cruikshank (1756–1811)

An Example Of Civics In Action

When we apply what we each believe to be the best principles of civics, we become political activists. That is, for example, what people who are participating in the Tea Party movement are doing.

Political activism is among the most peculiar and risky of human endeavors.  Even when what political activists propose is popular, some appreciate that political activism, but many still abhor it. That’s because we have this idiot notion that politics is a dirty business.

What is it that people detest about politics? Because we each want different things from the government, politics divides us into argumentative factions.  Factionalism is a topic we considered in THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY (through the writings of James Madison in The Federalist Papers). If you wish to understand something about the problem, please refer to that post.

What is political activism? Wikipedia offers this explanation, Activism, and much of what they write about political activism involves changes opposed by the governing class. In such cases, activists may have to overcome a great deal of hostility.  They risk failing and becoming one of many we have forgotten. Such is the case of the Armenian genocide which Clifford D. May writes about in Recalling the lessons of Armenia.

Displayed outside the Turkish embassy in Washington last week was a large banner reading, “Armenian genocide is an imperialist lie.” That claim might be amusing were the subject not so dreadful. The slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in 1915 was carried out by the Ottoman Empire. It was, therefore, by definition, an imperialist crime, one regarded by most experts as the first genocide of the 20th century. The notion that some other empire (which one?) has fabricated a slander against Turkey is ludicrous. Those who came up with that slogan must assume they are addressing a clueless audience. (continued here)

In our nation, we still have the freedom to speak our minds, to get our thoughts into print, and to publicize our views in recorded speeches and videos. What is more important, however, is that we can associate with people whose views with share. We can organize to select the leaders of our communities and of our nation.

Recently, we held Firehouse Primaries (see Prince William firehouse primary primer) in Prince William County. Instead of using a convention or a government-run primary to select its candidates for the general election in November 2015, the Prince William Republican Party set up its own balloting stations held its own primary. That involved quite a bit of work by dedicated volunteers.

I had a small role helping to set up one of the balloting stations. The day after the primary was over I sent the people I worked with a note expressing my appreciation. That follows.

Dear Republican Volunteers

Why Do I volunteer? Well, before we get to that I want to thank you all for volunteering to help yesterday. We had a challenging day. If you have not already done so, please check out the results Firehouse Primary at pwcgop.org. We had good turnout, and that’s why we were so busy. Only two balloting stations had more voters show up.

Fortunately, everyone involved worked hard and took the initiative to do what needed to be done.

John and Jose carefully laid out our floorplan. Thanks to them we were able to efficiently route the voters through the facility. Then, just before our real work began, Jose thoughtfully reminded us to ask for our Lord’s blessing, and he led us in prayer.

Mary, Ashley, and Jose got the voters in the door in an orderly fashion. When they got to the John and latter Steve at the Control Point, each voter was ready to have their registration verified. That task included tactfully dealing with a few people who wanted to gripe. There are always some.

With remarkable aplomb, Michelle, Meg, and Amy withstood the initial wave of voters, processing about half of the voters.  Why did everyone want to come at 10:00 AM?

😦   On a Saturday morning?

Rita arrived, and she already knew what to do with Rocket Base (Author’s note:  Rocket Base is the database we used to check voter registration and political affiliation.). She got her laptop running, and she went right to work. Then Dottie, Jan, Milt, Mark, and Jay added their efforts. The line now ended at the door.  We were processing voters as fast they arrived. Whew!

Meanwhile, Jamie, Bill, and Chuck, each in turn, quietly and courteously monitored the ballot box, provided voters a pen and showed them where to deposit heir completed ballots.

During the second half of the day, Steve led our effort. That included the complex task of counting the vote for three different elections on almost a thousand ballots. In two-person teams, we first counted the statement of intent forms, and then we counted the votes on the ballots. That took more than just the couple of hours we had expected. Thanks for hanging in there to the end.

Finally, Milt agreed to drive to the PWCGOP HQ, and we delivered the results of the vote (name of balloting station deleted).

So why do I volunteer? I just hope the good character and the good will of people like you will rub off on me.

Thank you for the example you set.


What true political activism involves is caring enough about other people to volunteer our labor and our wealth. Instead of looking for someone else to do the hard work necessary to make our government work properly, we step forward, and we do what we can.

We can argue until Hell freezes over just exactly how our government is suppose to work. We will never entirely agree. Nevertheless, if we each choose to wait for someone else to make our government work, we risk surrendering the welfare of our family, friends, and neighbors to the tender mercies of strangers. How can we claim to love someone if we are willing to risk their tyranny and enslavement?

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class. — John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton

When we have no one fit to rule over us, with our Lord’s help we must each do our best to rule ourselves.

4 thoughts on “WHAT IS CIVICS? — PART 2

  1. participation is key I have not missed an election since 1974. state, local, national, bonds referendums. voted them all. I’ve written editorials’ partipated in townhalls. I’ve volunteered, raised funds for charity. It never seems enough!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well said Tom. You point about action is so valid. So many of us just stand by and gripe. It’s kind of like Christians complaining about moral decay, and yet never ever tell another about Jesus Christ. Pretty stupid to be blunt.

    Liked by 2 people

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