He is right. This is not a one way street where our leaders do all the heavy lifting and we are just along for the ride. No, a citizen has responsibilities, too. Not only do we have to evaluate and pick those who will do the best job in leading the country, but we are part of the "team." In large part, our actions will determine our future.
So, here goes. What are our "qualifications" to take part in this grand experiment known as American democracy?
1) Commit to be educated. I would argue this is the most important requirement. A citizen must take the time to learn about the issues, to think deeply about the problems and opportunities we face, and to avoid the tendency to accept whatever the media or our favorite talking heads have to say.
Just because something is on the Internet, TV, or radio does not mean it is accurate and true, though it may be. A citizen's responsibility is to dig deeper. Consult multiple sources for insight, including those outside your normal comfort zone. Talk to others, form your own opinions but be prepared to change what you think if new information becomes available. Rigidity is not compatible with education.
2) Commit to participate. Not voting makes you no better than a non-citizen. Not supporting candidates and issues you believe in leaves you no right to complain about the outcome. Of course, you have every right and responsibility to fight for or against things you feel passionately about. But, if you don't play in the game, you can't simply complain about the score.
3) Commit to support or deny support as appropriate. Even if your dream candidate wins, even if every ballot proposition that you support passes, your duties are not over. There will be people, maybe lots of them, who disagree with you. You must work to support what you think is important and withdraw your support if someone or something doesn't seem right.
As the next point states, that doesn't mean you stop paying taxes if you dislike the IRS. It doesn't mean you occupy a federal building to protest a policy you find odious. It does mean you vote against people or things. It does mean you legally protest, with signs or petitions. You use your money and time to support or deny support.
4) Commit to follow the rules. With a civilized, organized society comes the rule of law. As much as a citizen disagrees with the speed trap south of town, if caught driving faster than posted, he will pay the fine. If called to jury duty she will serve. If someone disagrees with a point of law you don't disobey it but work to change it. As our society is structured, the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbitrator. Disagree with a finding? Work to change the law. A citizen doesn't have the right to disobey legal statues he disagrees with. Otherwise, we face anarchy.
5) Commit to be committed. Being a good citizen is not a part time job. You can't "turn it on" in an election year and then hibernate until the next one. As the points above should make clear, this is a full time responsibility.