Being a Responsible Citizen


Regarding Your Government














This is a course covering aspects of the various levels of government and how citizens can and do interface with those things.


This course will enable you to have knowledge of our political realms and instructions about how to become involved as responsible citizens. 


This composition is made with the fact in mind that I, as a Christian, believe it is our God-given duty to know of these things and to participate in how they transpire in our lives.  This is a venture into understanding for citizens to know of their government’s place and purposes. 


Here are some Biblical scripture references about understanding and civility:


Proverbs 14:33-35 Modern English Version (MEV)


33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
    but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
    but sin is a reproach to any people.

35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant,
    but his wrath is against him who causes shame.



Also, regarding the need to avoid campaigning with negative accusations:


Proverbs 21:21-23 Modern English Version (MEV)


21 He who follows after righteousness and mercy
    finds life, righteousness, and honor.

22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty,
    and casts down the strength of its confidence.

23 Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue
    keeps his soul from trouble.


Modern English Version (MEV)The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.




Many of the examples in this course are county aspects, so my home Wise County, Texas is the sample to which reference is made and references to state levels are Texas.  However, students of this course should investigate their own counties and states to secure specific information needed for understanding or for action. Embedded hyperlinks throughout the course allows the reader to seek further detail.




D. A. Sharpe

Aurora, Wise County, Texas





For readers or students who may not know me, here is some background and biographical sketch information:


Who is Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe?


Facebook Account:  Dwight Albert Sharpe








Chapter 1



First, we turn to a chapter that examines the structures of our government and how citizens participate in the functioning of those government levels.


Examination is given to all four levels of government and guidance about citizen involvement.


Click on this title: How Government Works














Chapter 2


WHO can Vote?


The first responsibility a citizen has in qualifying to cast a vote in elections is to be a Registered Voter.  The link above cites the requirements for accomplishing that status.





Chapter 3


Being a candidate for United States President typically involves publicizing your candidacy (called running for office) over perhaps an 18-month period, before the winner is inaugurated on January 20 in the year immediately following the General Election the prior November.


Here is the process:


How is a United States President Elected?


One of the significant acts to which the public turns its attention is the speech that a President gives the audience immediately following the inauguration and swearing into office ceremony. 


Here is an interesting compilation of the summery of Presidential Inaugural speeches given in the history of the United States:


U. S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses






Chapter 4





Besides electing a U.S. President (and his partner, a Vice President), there are many other public offices to which voters determine winners to serve.


My narrative here specialized in the process in my home county of Wise County, Texas.  However, the process and legislation governing matters is the same in all 254 counties in Texas.  Each of the other states have their own processes, but the process in most other states is similar to how it is done in Texas.  However, if one wants to be a candidate in some other state, consultation of its rules is necessary.


How to be a political candidate?


Once you are a filed candidate, you need to present yourself in positive modes, both in writing about you and the issues your present, and in speaking publically.  Here is a document to guide you in that effectiveness:


Speaking & Writing with Effectiveness


These communication tips are valid for any role a person fills in which the need to communicate to a public audience.  That includes not only business and community expressions, but in the mouths and minds of pastors and ministers. 


Another element needs attention for candidates.  In today’s world of campaigning, an unfortunate amount accusations arise between competing candidates.  Here is an article that addresses that issue, exhorting candidates to have a degree of civility in campaigning:


Civility in Campaigning





Chapter 5



What are the differences between a Democratic Party person and a Republican Party person? 


That presumably is seen by studying the Party Platform of each party.  The party Platform is a long series of expressions of viewpoints and intents to support (or against which to work) about the political issues of the day.


The pursuits of the Democratic Party are described in the political vernacular as liberal or to the left.  Republican Party pursuits are described generally as conservative or to the right.  For those who do not know the French origin of describing political positions as left or right may read this explanation.  


Here is the 2016 Democratic National Party Platform.


Here is the 2016 Republican National Party Platform.


As a Christian, my sense is that you can tell where you fall in beliefs about the party platforms by determining what each platform advocates about these three subjects:


1.  What is its stand on the 1973 Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade?


2.  What is its stand on the 2015 Supreme Court decision on gay rights and same sex marriage?


3.  How many times is God mentioned in the platform?


Asking about these matters of any political candidate, regardless of whether that candidate’s office being sought has anything to do with those subjects, should give you a good indication of his or her political comforts.  The answers to these three questions can find common identity with the Democratic Party platform versus the Republican Party Platform.  Virtually all the remaining aspects of those two platforms will find a commonness. 






Chapter 6


Conventions!  Many citizens and voters do not know much about political conventions!  Most people think only about the national party conventions about which they see on television in Presidential Elections years. 


In the political process, there are four levels of political conventions that take place in even numbered years. 


First, there are precinct conventions, which are convened in the evening of party primary elections days. 


Secondly, there are county conventions (or senatorial district conventions in more populous counties and metropolitan areas).  In Texas, they usually are on the third Saturday following a party primary election (in Texas, on the first Tuesdays).


Thirdly, there are state conventions.  These usually take place in June.  These occur in every even numbered year.


A fourth convention takes place in Leap years (those with a February 29th).  It is the national convention of each of the two major parties, the Democratic and the Republican Parties.  These are in July or August.


Here is a document that details how theses conventions operate:



Precinct Conventions


Just to give you an idea how these conventions begin, below is a form that is completed by the precinct chairman after the Election Day Convention whereby your neighborhood friends are elected to attend the second level of conventions.  This document takes you through the steps to the party state conventions.


Here is a sample form (Minutes) from the precinct meetings, which primarily is a document to convey to the party county chairman who is eligible to attend the county.



Precinct Convention Form (Minutes)




Chapter 7



The important thing that defines those principles for which a political party stands are expressed in its Party Platform.  Many people do not know how a Party Platform becomes into being.  Also, they may not know how they can have an impact themselves to impact their Party’s Platform. 


This document guides though that process:



Impacting Your Political Party’s Platform – How to Write a Proposition.


Subjects which come into a party’s platform is a series of creating a written advocacy statements going through the various convention meetings.  This document addresses, among other things, how to compose such a resolution.


My real-time experience with the creation of party platforms is the process used in the Republican Party.  However, it is my confidence that the Democratic Party process is similar. 


At a state convention, the preparation for a platform will be the functioning of a Platform Committee, which meets usually for three days prior to the main convention sessions.  Main convention sessions are three days. 


The Platform Committee considers the previous platform created at the most recent state convention, discussing whether to retain, amend or delete any items.  Additionally, they consider written proposals of resolutions coming from county or senatorial district conventions.  Thirdly, the Platform Committee has a scheduled process for state convention delegates personally to testify before it to advocate an action regarding any proposed platform matter. 


The final work of the Platform Committee is a new recommended platform which is distributed in written form to every delegate at the convention to study.  Then, the proposed platform is open to discussion and debate on the floor of the whole convention, which usually consumes a major length of time in the last section of the convention. 


The decision of whether to adopt the proposed party platform is committed to all the convention delegates to vote in written form on every item in the platform.  At the 2018 Republican State Convention, the proposed platform contained 331 items.  For an item to be confirmed to remain in the current platform, the item must receive 60% of the vote of the delegates. 


The written ballots are collected by the leaders of each of the 31 senatorial districts.  Weighted voting is used in this process.  Weighted voting enables voting of the full eligible number of delegates, even if all are not present. 


For example, the Republican Senatorial District 30 of which I was a Delegate in the 2018 Convention had an eligible number of 427 Delegates.  If only 300 Delegates were present on the floor when a vote is taken, it means that each delegate’s vote is worth 1.423 votes.  So, if the 300 present and voting Delegates voted 200 for an item and 100 against, it would be reported as a weighted vote result of 284.6 to 142.4. 


The whole Delegate vote eligible at the 2018 Republican Convention was 8,779. It’s county-by-county eligible Delegate count is listed here.  First, consult the Senatorial District, then look at the alphabetic list of county names.


Here’s a photo of me submitting the locked box of Senatorial District 31 platform votes with our SD30 leader, Ms. Deon Starnes of Denton County. With her is her daughter, Sarah.  Behind us, on the left side, is Armando Arechiga, a school teacher from McAllen, Texas.  Votes are turned in by SD leaders, accompanied by at least two other Delegates from that SD.  That is an illustration of the degree of transparency and security for true results. 





















Chapter 8



A great proportion of our United States population of about 326,000,000 have never read nor know much about the United States Constitution.  They may have seen these documents once in school, but few have practical memory of what is contained in these famous documents.  You are exhorted here to open the link and, at least, to browse our Constitution.  It should give you an idea of those broad principles that keep us together as a nation. 


What is the United States Constitution?


What are the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution?


The central composer of the text that was finally approved as our Constitution was James Madison, Jr., one of the Founding Fathers who served as our fourth national President.  He was the shortest President we ever had, and he had a relationship with our family lines. His beautiful wife was the belle of the Washington D.C. society.


Likewise, probably most of our about 28,000,000 Texans have no appreciable knowledge of the Constitution of the State of Texas:


What is the Constitution of the State of Texas?




Chapter 9



Here are some miscellaneous documents on political topics which should have relevance to students of this course:


In the season for political campaigns, most people are solicited almost to excess to donate to various political causes or candidates.  Here is an article published in the Bridgeport Index (in my home Wise County) on April 26, 2012.  It gives ideas and guidance about determining to whom you might decide to give.


It should be said here that you are encouraged to determine some level of giving to candidate(s) or causes with which you can identify.  Even gifts of modest amounts ($25, $50, $100), the recipients appreciate your expression with those gifts.  Your decision should be led by your seeking God’s Divine guidance, and it should be giving over and above whatever is your tithe to your local church. 


How do you know which political cause to support?


I met a young woman, in the Millennial class of population, a resident of Tarrant County (Fort Worth, TX) who wanted to learn about political activity, but didn’t know anyone with whom to speak.  A plan was devised for me to take her to interface with some female elected officials and political activists of my acquaintance in Tarrant County.  This was the plan.  It wasn’t all carried out, but the idea is the same where YOU might take such a young person to those whom you know in the political realms. 


Mentoring a Millennial Woman to Become Involved?


Here is an interesting story about William J. H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962), a German-born Presbyterian minister ordained in Brooklyn, New York, who had immigrated to the United States.  He is credited with stating a list of things you cannot do:


What you cannot do



A well-known American economist, a Stanford University faculty member, turned social theorist, political philosopher and an author is Dr. Thomas Sowell.  He is credited with many cogent sayings and one-line expressions that can be understood and enjoyed:


Quotes from Dr. Thomas Sowell






Chapter 10


The study of history and genealogy in my family ancestral lines has been of interest to me. 


It therefore has drawn my attention when my searching crossed paths with several U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents who have had relationship with our family. Perhaps that is one reason there is “political blood” in my veins that generates my interest in the subjects of this course. 


Here is a chart that shows all U.S Presidents, their terms of service and those related to our family have personal history links in the chart.  I hope you will enjoy knowing of them. 


Chapter 11


This concludes a course that, hopefully, equips the reader or the student to understand how our nation operates in its political levels, and how each citizen has an opportunity to participate in the shaping of and the results of our political life in the United States.


My desire is that many people are helped by these chapters and documents.  This is not copyrighted material, and I give permission for its parts or the whole to be copied and used for educational purposes.  If you need downloading in a Microsoft Word format, contact me, and such will be sent you. 


If you do chose to use this material in further ways in which you share with others, it would be pleasing to me to hear from you about how you used it.


Thank you again for your attention.



Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe

805 Derting Road East

Aurora, TX 76078-3712

Facebook:      Dwight Albert Sharpe