This is the second interview in a series of four interviews from Mishawaka, Indiana (the first is here). I am not sharing any political or personal information about these interviewees until the end of the series in order to capture how similar people’s messages are.
On his/her strengths as a citizen:
I think I’m the best that I can be right now. I think I do a good job of not getting involved in the negativity that surrounds politics. My spouse will have the news on in the morning, and I’ll say, “Why do you watch that?” I go and turn on shows like Leave it to Beaver instead. I also spend 20-25 hours volunteering at church. I write manuals, I organize, I’m here on Sundays. I love it.
Why Granger Community Church is a good citizen of its community:
GCC is a starter church. I was raised very, very Catholic. When I first came here, I didn’t really want to come. I was dating a person who said they’d heard great things about the church. I walked through the door reluctantly, and I heard and saw awesome things. They do a lot of community stuff. One of the things my wife and I help with is called “financial peace.” The church has put several hundred people through this course on managing their money. A lot of people say it helped them get a house and manager their finances.
On the failures of his/her neighborhood:
We don’t really know our neighbors. I sit on the community board, but when I walk by people and say a couple of times and they don’t say hi back, it’s disheartening, and I quit.
An exemplary citizen from the community:
One of the guys I volunteer with at church is on the security team, is a fire fighter, and is a diver for the rescue team. And he’s 32, that’s a big deal, and raising three kids with his wife. He doesn’t brag about it.
His/her keys to citizenship:
Caring about your community. Volunteering. Family.
The two things Americans need to know about America:
They need to know what the guys went through in World War II. And they need to know what the Constitution says. Is everything applicable today? Maybe not. But we need to know the foundation. For example, I believe in the Second Amendment, but could bits and pieces of it be rearranged? Maybe, probably.
The media harms civic life:
I get my news from the local news because I don’t trust Facebook or the national media. My biggest wish is that the media would do what they’re supposed to do. Don’t bash Melania for her shoes – I mean, seriously? There are so many other things to worry about.
Everyone can be a good citizen. What’s going on right now makes it hard for people to do that. The media drives a lot of negativity. People on both sides needs to talk. You don’t have to agree about everything. And don’t get so heated over things that aren’t worth it.
And (to be better Americans), quit arguing and turn the TV off. Don’t listen to things on Facebook. Being on Facebook doesn’t make something true.