OREGON HISTORY FOR OREGON SYSTEM 267 moderately imposes an arduous duty upon the individual voter. The old order of citizenship no longer suffices. Civic duty was formerly comprehended in that attention to public affairs which insured a wise choice among the several candidates for each public position to be filled. The demands made on civic virtue under the Oregon system are incomparably more rigorous. It calls for a zeal in public service and a de- votion to the common good that insures an understanding of the issues involved in each problem as it arises. Nothing less than a finer loyalty, a livelier patriotism and a higher social intelligence must now prevail if all is to be well. With these alone, if at all, can a people secure that discernment and poise that mean safety and social progress with the complex and tangled affairs of a commonwealth under a pure democracy. Considering the closely limited time and vitality available to the average citizen, after the demands of his personal and essential non-political interests have been met, the political duties he owes under a pure democracy are simply stupendous. It is a matter, therefore, of the utmost importance for Oregon welfare that the best possible conditions be afforded him for the fulfilment of his part faithfully and well. The most effec- tive service to him towards giving him competence for his new role is that which secures for him an intimate and realistic comprehension of our commonwealth life. This will also kindle in him a real and abiding love for Oregon, insuring zeal and loyalty. The key for this consummate grasp of the situation in which he is to be a factor is a knowledge of its course of evolution, of its making, of its essential history. What are the vital elements in the heritage of the Oregon people of today, in natural resources, in ideas, in customs and in institutions ? What also are their handicaps ? What are the vital features in their commonwealth organization and what purposes have actuated its policies? What vision or lack of vision has each generation displayed ? Its history viewed from this standpoint of human and higher interests conserved no doubt discloses much that causes feelings of regret. The lead- ers followed have in many cases misled. The people have now
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/275
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