We average, ordinary Americans have been given a priceless gift, American citizenship. As part of that priceless gift, we average, ordinary American ciizens have been given the responsibility to govern ourselves. As a child in grammar school, I was taught that this country is a democracy. That is not true. We do have a democratic form of government but actually, we are citizens of a republic.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a republic as a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law. The supreme power rests with us. We elect our representatives and they are responsible to us which is rather difficult to take in: we've been taught to obey the state. But it turns out, we are the state. So whom do we obey? Well we haven't been left to do exactly as we please. Our republic is a nation of laws and most particulary, we live within the boundaries of the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution is another priceless gift.
To be good Christians, we must accept the gifts God has given us. And the responsibilities that go along with them. If we don't, we fail to accept God's gifts; if we will not rule ourselves, we will be ruled by men such as this one*:
Let us remember that God does not give gifts because we are worthy of them but rather because He loves us, rather for the glory of His name, so as to make us able to "declare [His] glory among the nations." We haven't been doing so well at that one either but I honestly believe if we will govern ourselves as our founding fathers conceived, we will begin to declare His glory.
As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life. The manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another. "One must pay tribute to those nations whose systems permit the largest possible number of the citizens to take part in public life in a climate of genuine freedom."**
* Video of Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton
** The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para. 1