Thoughts on the middle class and civic engagement

The middle class is a term that describes the broad group of people that lie between the poor and the rich. The middle class is important because it is the category that the majority of the population falls under. In a democracy the people have the power to elect representatives that form a governing body. It is essential for the middle class to have proper representation in government to ensure that the decisions made reflect the will of the people. The civic engagement of the middle class is absolutely vital to democracy because it keeps the masses happy.  The middle class needs to be educated and engaged in order for the country to thrive.

The middle class is endangered because access to higher education is becoming increasingly difficult to get, while the attitude towards the government has become very cynical across the middle class. Education beyond high school is becoming less and less affordable for middle class families.  This is concerning because many do not get the chance to take a civics class until they go to college. In my experience a civics class was not required for me to graduate from high school. I did take a required government class, however it focused more on the different types of governments (monarchy, democracy, communism) and the recent history behind american democracy.  Government class did not focus on the rights, responsibilities, and duties that come with being a citizen which is what civics class is. The lack of civic education deprives people, especially in the middle class, from realising the power they have when getting involved with the government.  Low civic engagement means that the needs of the people are not being met by the government. The natural reaction by many is to become overly cynical of the government because they feel that they are not being represented. This discourages people from voting altogether. How can you be represented if you do not vote? When the middle class does not vote, they are not being represented,  thus weakening democracy itself.

The solution lies in improving the access to civic education and promoting it. People need to know the importance of civic engagement. Public schools need to have a separate civics class or at the very minimum incorporate a greater emphasis on civics in the existing government classes. This would teach the next generation of how important civic engagement is.  They would be aware that being educated and engaged in government is the best way the will of the people will be represented. This should encourage them to vote and get involved leading to a strong and stable democracy. If you do not vote then you let someone else  make decisions for you and there is no guarantee that they have what is best in mind for you.

 

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