What It Means to Be American: Do We Still Know How to Be Good Citizens?
Moderator: Nancy Barnes, “Houston Chronicle” editor and executive vice president for news
• Mickey Edwards, former U.S. congressman
• Jennifer Mercieca, historian of American political rhetoric, Texas A&M University
• Johann N. Neem, civil-society historian, Western Washington University, and author of “Creating a Nation of Joiners”
• Steven Petrow, “Washington Post” columnist
Americans talk a lot about the importance of good citizenship. But what does it mean to be a good citizen? By many measures, we may be falling short. American voter turnout is low compared to other nations, and in online discussion we’re quick to attack others who disagree with our point of view. How have Americans defined and lived citizenship, past and present? Are we really less civil now than we were in previous eras?
In this panel discussion, part of the Smithsonian and Zócalo Public Square’s “What It Means to Be American” lecture series, participants consider whether it’s possible—and if, so, how—to raise American standards of citizenship.
A reception follows the program.
This program is free and open to the public! Reserve your spot in advance. Registration is available via Zócalo Public Square.