When I first spoke with Donna Webb, the great, new San Saba News & Star editor, about writing an occasional article for the paper, I said I would like to write about simple things, things from our daily lives, from our communities, from our homes and families, and importantly, about citizenship. When I was in school, every year we studied civics, some history and government (either world, U.S., or Texas), economy, and geography. Those studies are not so common anymore. Instead, schools study social studies, which is a kind of amalgamation of them all.
This is sad because many individuals do not always have access to common knowledge in these specialized areas. It helps to have background in every area. It helps to recognize what you agree or disagree with and it helps to agree to disagree! It helps to respect differences and to recognize what it is to be a good citizen!
Last week, in an article, I wrote about RVing and touring a lot of the Rocky Mountain states rampant with COVID-19. My sister and I social distanced the entire trip and were lucky that we came home well. I used the words “common sense” and “common good” that helped us as individual travelers because that is what we must all think about and strive for in the midst of this pandemic! Good citizenship!
As such, I have been thinking a lot these past several weeks about the word “common.” I worked the polls in the recent election in Lometa. A young man came into the polling place and commented loudly that he was there to “prevent communism.” I think he was confusing "communism" with “socialism,” but regardless, he made his observation as he has the guaranteed right to do so in our wonderful country.
We all have the right to speak out! We all have the right to agree and to disagree! We are so fortunate to have these rights and so many others guaranteed to us in the Constitution!
Many countries do not always have these rights. Maduro (not Hugo Chavez, dead five or so years and mistakenly referred to by Mr. Giuliani) in Venezuela, as an example, does not willingly allow dissent but tries to control it with his military. Witness another recent example in the attempts to poison Mr. Putin’s opponent in Russia’s presidential election!
Totalitarianism, communism, fascism, all do not allow or encourage dissent and they use force like the military or another form of coercion. In the instance of the Russian case, the oppositional candidate supposedly was poisoned by military grade poison, only available to members of Putin’s government and not to the public.
We, as Americans, always say the word “common” as found in the Declaration of Independence, as in “provide for the common defense!” The word “common” is the basis of the word community. It is the emphasis in the expression “our common humanity.” We, as humans, are all alike. We all need food or sustenance, shelter, and finally, we all need the ability to provide for ourselves and the things and individuals that we care about.
Our country was considered as a great experiment in world government and in striving for the common good! The U.S., as a country, has labored through many stages in our common history, both good and bad! Even so, we are neither red nor blue; we are red, white, and blue! We are all Americans!