Is Civic Duty dead or perhaps it absconded with Common Manners
The following is my opinion and certainly not meant as a blanket judgement on all circumstance but I use the following as an example.
First let's define what I mean by civic duty and I would like to use this definition as proffered;
"civic duty is to be a good citizen, obey the laws, serve in the military in time of need, be active in community activities that are supportive of something positive. These are the types of things that enable masses of people to live in proximity and prosper."
A patient at the clinic once commented to me that when he was in paying his rates that he also asked them for a sum of money to cover the petrol he used to mow his nature strip. He didn't expect to be given the compensation but he was serious about his resentment. But surely that is just a part of civic duty I said whereupon he shifted uncomfortably. I remember asking my Dad when I was very little why he mowed the footpath and he said it was just being a good and helpful citizen and made pedestrian ways more pleasant and enhanced the surrounding environment (or words to that effect as I was very little but I understood the meaning). It was always once generally accepted that this was appropriate practice but there is a strident note creeping into people's voices on all matters and it centres around "my rights", "I pay" and "not my responsibility"
It is yet another way we have decided to turn our backs on our neighbours and bunker down in our own little environments.
I believe council resources are stretched and I think we all have to take part and pitch in. Shop keepers once used to sweep their paths but I never see this any longer. Some people have impossible verges but most people still have some sort of access along their road or to their letterbox.
There is no-one living next door and the grass is mostly long all year round except for a strip that Craig mows so the postman can access next door's letterbox. It's just a common care and courtesy he extends that says I care about your comfort and safety as you go about your job performing a service for us.
When we visit a park or walk along somewhere and we find rubbish, we clean it up. We didn't make it but does arguing the point make things right? If we just pass over rubbish in public areas we are sending a message that leaving rubbish lying around is OK. Gradually things become the norm and habits form. I would much rather the habits be for good.
Our local environment is just one small insidious effect of the erosion of our decline in civic duty.
More alarming is the decline in volunteer groups like the Parents and Friends at schools, The Lions Club and Rotary. Even our Neighbourhood Watch that Craig and I letterbox drop for looks like folding because there is no interest. Our communities are in real crisis and we need to step up if we are to continue to live together and prosper.
Please tell me some feel good stories in your community. Convince me that civic duty is not dead in your area.