Your father and I will take you there after you learn to read and write. It’s important that you know our capital and feel the energy of your government at work.
Know the names of the people who represent you in government, as well as their positions on pertinent issues. Write to them. If you are lucky enough to be represented by a congressperson you respect and admire, donate money to his or her campaign.
Know that some of those responsible for protecting your rights are doing just that, but some are angling to undo them. Be aware of this when voting for politicians and interacting with the police. You counterbalance this kind of power by knowing your rights.
Give some of your money and some of your time to nonprofit groups. I recommend choosing a local organization like a shelter or museum so you can see the direct benefit of your participation, rather than a celebrity-supported cause – they already get plenty of attention.
Genuine politics—even politics worthy of the name—the only politics I am willing to devote myself to—is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility expressed through action, to and for the whole.
And really, a higher tax bill means you’ve made more money. Take pride in that and in your contribution to the civil services those taxes pay for.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence “All men are created equal.” Today, we interpret “men” to mean “people,” but at that time “men” was not intended to be inclusive of women, or even of men who were not white. Inequity existed 200 years ago, and it still exists today. Don’t let anyone tell you that everyone gets a fair shot. Be sympathetic to the disadvantaged and work hard to include them.
The way our constitution is structured you have an inalienable right to an attorney, a gun, a god, and due process. You do not have a right to be healthy, to a doctor, to medicine or to equal access to care that could save your life or the lives of your children. Let this weigh heavily on you as you choose a profession and where to expand your political leanings and charitable giving.
See: Wu Zetian (China), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Mary McAleese (Ireland), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Angela Merkel (Germany), Golda Mier (Israel), Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar/Burma), Pratibah Patil (India), Gloria Arroyo (Philippines), Tarja Halonen (Finland), Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Helen Clark (New Zealand), Margaret Thatcher (Great Britain), Janet Jagan (Guyana).
Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
John F. Kennedy