Mishawaka Interview 1: Christ, Community, and Listening

For this set of interviews from Mishawaka, I am going to post the interviews with no information about the interviewees. After I’ve published all four, I am going to reveal their name, gender, age, and who they voted for. I found in these interviews that people of very different political leanings had very similar ideas and messages. Hopefully, readers will be surprised by people’s political leanings at the end, or, at the least, see how similar many peoples’ civic ideas are regardless of politics.

How this person could improve as a citizen:

I could do a better job of being involved in my community. I have three teenagers, and I’m not actively involved in their high school. I could also be better at being aware of my community and city. I am pretty good at being aware at the national level, and even the state level, but for my actual city, I just check out. We don’t have the best school board here, and I’m aware of it, but I need to think about what I need to do to fix it, and then do it.

On how religion impacts him/her as a citizen:

A part of community for me is understanding my identity in Christ and God, and that’s tied to my identity as a citizen at large.

The Church could improve as a civic body:

I like teachings that make me question, that make me think. The Church could improve in helping people (do this work as citizens). The Church recognizes the divide in our country, and wants to heal it, but how do we do it? It doesn’t offer a lot of answers on that subject.

The keys to being a good citizen:

Commitment to community. Awareness. The extra step is acting on it.

This person believes a co-worker wouldn’t think he/she is a good citizen because of how he/she voted:

I think my coworker who voted differently than I did would say I’m not a good citizen. They would say I support things that aren’t core to what our American ideals are.

The three things all Americans need to know about our country:

First, it was created on the foundation of freedom. Second, students need to know that it was created by a group that left what they felt was constricting and wanted something new. It was founded with the idea that the newness would be open (in some ways). Third, everyone needs to know that, in some ways, our country has represented a mix of people. We often use melting pot. I heard someone say that we’re more like a salad bowl, because America is a mix of things that come together but remain different. And I think that’s a better analogy.

What it means to be an American:

It means I make the choice to accept the responsibility to represent freedom and individuality. And I think it means to cultivate that and believe that anyone can be invited into and participate in that.

How we can improve as Americans:

We could be better Americans if we shut up, quit talking, and start listening. Western culture fosters that. We (need to) stop debating for a minute, and listen to something on the other side, and see where they’re coming from. Then we can allow that to either bolster what we already believe or morph and change it for the better. Because we don’t have it all figured out.

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