Choose to be a citizen



Participation is a basic element in a democratic state. The term 'private citizen' was not accepted in ancient Athens. A democracy needs citizens, polites. No one could declare himself a 'private citizen'. Everyone was expected to be actively involved in public affairs. The greek word for private citizen is idiotes. For the Athenians this noun had a negative meaning. 
Anyone who chose to  just mind his own business or wasn’t eloquent enough to express himself because he did not take care of his education and refused to take part in the current affairs of the State was automatically considered an idiotes, a weakly presented society member, and therefore a person of low intelligence, uneducated, untalented, worthless. A private citizen. An idiot...

Be the opposite of an idiot. Be a citizen!


Here, each individual is interested not only in his own affairs but in the affairs of the State as well: even those who are mostly occupied by their own business are extremely well-informed on general politics. This is a peculiarity of ours: we do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business. We say that he has no business here at all!
— Pericles (495-429 BC)
In a democracy, every citizen -regardless of his interest in politics- ‘holds office’. Everyone of us is in a position of responsibility and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.
— John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

The temple of Hephaestus overlooking the Agora of Athens