Clarence Thomas recently told a group of school kids that he is less in favor of expanding rights than he is in a “Bill of Obligations and Bill of Responsibilities.” Of course I dismissed Clarence’s notion out of hand. It is Clarence’s notion after all, and he is a screwball. But on second thought I started messing around with a Bill of Responsibilities, just to see what it should look like. Here is a first draft, for which I would like to see some serious comment. I think it’s a little Orson Scott Cardish…or maybe Starship Trooperish… but I don’t know that it is not an accurate picture of what we ought to expect from each other, all being citizens of this realm and all having a common interest in peace and prosperity. Of course it also assumes that the first section, Responsibilities of Government…are taken seriously, which the George The Impostor did not.
Responsibilities of Government
1. Decisions of the government will be made only after open and honest debate, in the light of all facts being available and public. Citizens will have an opportunity to participate in the process to the extent to which they believe it is important.
2. Government will protect the individual Constitutional rights of all citizens without favor.
3. Government will provide for the common defense and general welfare.
4. Government will husband the nation’s resources, use its powers only in furtherance of the common good, and favor no special interests over the interests of the people.
Responsibility of Citizens to Government
1. Citizens will inform themselves of all facts related to any public issue of importance to them and be willing to engage in reasonable debate. After debate, citizens will accept, without complaint, the decisions made under due process by the Congress, the Courts and the Executive.
2. Citizens will pay their taxes without complaint, prevarication or evasion. When the government needs funds to cover necessary expenses citizens will not whine about increased taxes.
3. Citizens will serve their country according to their own inclinations and respect the decisions of others with regard to how they choose to serve. Citizens will grant to each the honor deserved for their service.
4. Citizens will not seek special favors from government for themselves, their families, employers or businesses.
Responsibility of Citizens to Community
1. Citizens will respect the rights of all other community members regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, place of origin, education or economic status, and treat all such persons equally in matters of respect, employment and general commerce.
2. Citizens will obey all laws.
3. Citizens will seek redress through the courts or other established or recognized governmental, civic, religious or secular organizations capable of resolving grievances, and willingly accept the decision of said groups.
4. Citizens will not kill other citizens unless in self defense, or by due process of law. Citizens will not undertake physical violence against any other citizen unless in self defense or by due process of law.
5. Citizens will store and properly secure all fire arms and obey all laws regarding their registration and use. Citizens will drive carefully in accordance with the laws, carry insurance and duly report any accident.
6. Citizens will not engage in fraud, theft, robbery or otherwise attempt to usurp the economic benefits of others.
7. Citizens will recognize the need for community change whether or not it personally benefits or discomfits the individual, provided the individual is adequately compensated for provable losses.
8. Citizens will not attempt to force their personal beliefs on other citizens. Citizens will recognize the right of others to speak out about their beliefs.
9. Citizens will support institutions that contribute to the general welfare of the community.
10. Citizens will not engage in activities or practices that tend to make them a burden on the community. Citizens will preserve and, where possible, improve the natural environment.
1. Citizens are responsible to use their best efforts to feed, clothe, shelter and educate their families.
2. Citizens are responsible for their children, whether or not born in legally or religiously sanctioned arrangements..