BY SHARON MARTIN
· Know for whom and for what you vote. Otherwise, you end up with a Superintendent of Public Education who wants to privatize schools. A D or an R by a politician’s name isn’t a resume.
· Respect good teachers. They put their life on the line for your children and for the country.
· Support public education for all children.
· Teach your children to be kind.
· Take an active interest in your child’s life. More than anything else, good parents raise good citizens and good citizens make strong countries.
· Respect public servants, both paid and unpaid. Policemen, firemen, school board members, and your local hospital board members are all doing jobs that need doing.
· Join the Peace Corp or the National Guard. Guards are on hand when disasters strike and when our borders are threatened.
· Respect soldiers. Insist that our legislators provide resources to take care of returning soldiers and their families. This may require letter-writing campaigns, peaceful demonstrations, and get-out-the-vote efforts.
· Shop locally.
· Hire someone who needs a job.
· Join a union. Well-paid employees and safe work places are good for the economy and well-being of this country.
· Support your local farmers. Shop at farmers’ markets, subscribe to a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] and join the Oklahoma Food Coop.
· Grow a garden.
· Recycle and compost. Keep your poisons out of our shared air and water resources.
· Be a good neighbor.
· When times are tough, don’t look down on low-income workers who need government assistance. That’s what a government of the people is for.
· Pay your taxes.
· If you don’t like what your taxes are paying for, write letters to your legislators. If they don’t listen, vote.
This list is just a beginning. A vibrant democracy requires active citizenship, and this is what we should be advocating this year as another Fourth of July comes and goes.
There are plenty of things wrong with our country; we are a country of humans and humans are flawed. But there are plenty of things right with this country, too.
Celebrate the things that are right; right the things that are wrong. Now, that’s patriotism.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer