Our View: Reflections on the Fourth
We Americans typically regard the Fourth of July as a day to celebrate freedom, and that is one way to look at the day. Our colonial forefathers suffered under the tyrannical rule of a monarch an ocean away, who had little regard for the quality of life of the people who lived here. He was interested in the power that came with being the ruler and revenue sources to fund his actions. He didn’t mind squeezing the colonies.

One result of gaining independence was a Constitution that guarantees us a healthy degree of liberties and freedoms.

But what was really won was not freedom, but the right to govern ourselves. Freedom is not a given, even in America. Citizens must remain vigilant to see that their government remains transparent to the public and to guard against actions that threaten our quality of life and our liberties.

In our republic, elected representatives at all levels of government are in positions to make decisions about what our government should do, and how it should operate, and we need to be alert to how those decisions affect us.

We are responsible for choosing those representatives. To carry out that responsibility, we need to know what our government is doing, and without transparency in government, the system breaks down.

If we are to be self-governed, we have a civic duty to be informed, to vote, and at times to share our views with our representatives. Especially in an election year, we have to look past rhetoric and hyperbole to determine which candidates are the best to work on behalf of our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It’s said that in a republic, the people get the kind of government they deserve. Choose wisely.
© 2012