What is Rhetorical Citizenship? The definition that is in our syllabus says that it is the ability of individuals to communicate their needs, interests, and values in order to identify and solve public problems. In Lippmann's "The Phantom Public" he describes a good citizen as one who is omni competent, or all knowing. He thinks that the ideal role of a citizen is one where they are aware of everything that is going on in the world and they know enough about that problem or situation that he can express a well thought out opinion. The problem Lippmann has with this idea is that the average person is to busy with there everyday lives to care of have enough time to deal with the problems of the world. That is why we elect people to take care of these problems. One of Lippmann's thoughts about this is that he says that because people are too busy with their lives to meddle in government affairs they align themselves with a person or group of people who best share there ideas or values. Instead of making the decisions themselves they just elect the group that best identifies with their thoughts and let them deal with the problem. And if they make the wrong desions then come next election they align themselves with a new group or person. Lippmann believes that the role of a citizen should be to be well informed about government affairs but he knows that they cannot be so they should just find the group of people or person with the ideals they have and to elect them to deal with the problems and they can just go about there everyday lives and not have to worry about the problems.
Lippman describes the level of participation in the area of public affairs as a play. "The public will arrive in the middle of the third act and will leave before the last curtain, having stayed just long enough perhaps to decide who is the hero and who the villain is." What he's saying is that the public doesn't really care about the problem they just want to know who is good and who is...
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