The Ideal Citizen

Marie Williams-Gagnon, Editor, Transcript and Free Press, Glencoe.  September 2008.  reprinted with permission
When trolling through the archives researching information for this week’s Peeps from the Past, an editorial entitled “The Ideal Citizen” stood out. It stands as true today as when it was written in 1933.
“Have you ever noticed how inspirational and refreshing it is to go amongst a family where there is the greatest loyalty, love and co-operation between its members? And on the other hand, have you ever noticed how sickening and unelevating it is to go amongst a family whose members are always quarrelling, distrustful, unloyal and not pulling together? What a difference there is in an individual’s opinion of these two families.
“A town is really just a big family or should be to a certain extent. How the citizens of the town pull together for the good of the whole and how loyal they are to the interests of the town determines just how much influence that town will have in the district. The loyalty and co-operation of the citizens will determine the extent of the admiration and regard which other towns have for it.
“To be an ideal citizen of any town, one must be ever ready to see something good in the town and do not pass an opportunity for spreading abroad the good news. The unselfishness of an ideal citizen makes him want others to share opportunities, health and pleasure which his home town offers.
“Loyalty is the first requisite for the ideal citizen. The love of the place and his neighbours which dismisses the thought of self-interest or policy and resolves itself into the knowledge of duty when he does all in his power to make the town a better place in which to live.
“There are three distinct attitudes which a citizen may assume toward the place in which he lives, which furnishes food, shelter and association for himself and family – to boost, to remain quiet or to knock. The booster is the ideal citizen who is never forgetful of the obligation which is due the home town. He is ever found at the front when any movement is launched which might tend to the advancement of the interests of the town. While others see darkly, to him good is visible at all times. The quiet citizen is satisfied to let the neighbour do the work and content to lull the town to sleep and let it rest. The knocker is the man without a country. There is no room for him anywhere, his presence dampens the enthusiasm of every man or group of men who unfortunately come in contact with him. Having no faith in his own ability to go forward, he naturally lacks faith in his home town to do so.
“You have a chance to belong to either of the three classes. If you are a booster, your neighbour knows it and will boost you. If you are aligned with the quiet class you will not be regarded one way or the other, for the man who elects to steer in the middle of the stream gets no support from either side. If, unfortunately, you are a knocker, get ready to be knocked, for eventually it is coming to you. As you give, so will it be metted out to you.”
Call it karma if you will but this editorial from days gone by reminds readeers that every action has a reaction.
Become involved or else the service groups will cease to exist.
Shop locally or the stores will cease to exist. Quite simply, become a “booster” or there will be no community to boost.

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