What is Civics?

My friend Lori thinks that “civics” means politics.  But civics is so much more than that. Civics is knowing and understanding the responsibilities of being a citizen of this country. I need a metaphor for Lori.

As I often do when faced with a hard question, I turn to chocolate. While munching on a bag of peanut M&Ms, I found the metaphor. Civics is the yellow M&Ms bag. Our civic responsibilities are the peanuts in the bag. Politics is just one piece of one of the peanuts.

We have many responsibilities as citizens, but I’m going to only list five of those “peanuts” in the bag of civic responsibilities (If you want to add more in the comments, please do!):

  • Be Informed: Stay informed about the issues affecting our communities, and make sure you are getting the best/most accurate information possible. We all need to learn how to weed out fact from fiction, reporting from opinion, truth from click bait.
  • Know Your Government: Understand our system of government so we can effectively use the system to get things done, to elect effective leaders, and to support and defend the Constitution.
  • Participate: Participate in your local community. How? Through civic engagement. Through working with people, regardless of their politics, to solve local problems and improve the lives of everyone in your community.
  • Vote: Participate in the democratic process. (Here’s where “politics” shows up.) We vote, we run for office, we protest, we write Letters to the Editor…we pay attention to whom we vote for at all levels of government, not just the president.

Do I do all of these? Argggh. No.

The fifth “peanut” might be the most important civic responsibility of them all…But because I want to keep these blog posts short, stay tuned…


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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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Minnesota State Arts Board grant

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.