October 11, 2011
Ap Lang and Comp 5
“What is the relationship between the citizen and the state?”
We are not citizens but subjects, being subjected to the ruling of one power. We claim that we despise the government and that the government is out to get us, but if you think of what our society would be without a government we would be in total chaos. Sometimes we try to free ourselves from the state, and run, just as Tim O’Brien did in “On the Rainy River.” O’Brien didn’t want to be drafted out to a war in which he didn’t believe in, so instead he dropped his life and ran away; just ran away from facing the government. "My conscience told me to run, but some irrational and powerful force was resisting, like a weight pushing me toward the war. What it came down to, stupidly, was a sense of shame." (O’Brien pg.964) The realization of having to face return and accept the consequences of the government forced O’Brien to acknowledge his fears and return home. He couldn’t escape the government forever. "I survived, but it's not a happy ending. I was a coward. I went to the war." (O’Brien pg.973)
The relationship between the citizen and the state is that both are interdependent to each other. Without the citizen, the state wouldn’t be capable of laws; laws in which the citizen will denounce and/or praise. Citizens are only citizens until they acquire political power. There wouldn’t be a government without the citizens to make up our government. Everyone in the state was a citizen before they were a politician. Our relationship with the ruling class is as usual, we ignore their rules with all regards. “I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave’s government also” (Thoreau pg. 942) The practice of slavery in the united states is the single most hypocritical aspect of the government as far as Thoreau is concerned. If you believe your government is being hypocritical, then why...