Commentary, Front Page

Commentary: Today should be a solemn reminder of how fragile democracy can be

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By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor/The Herald  —  Yes, it’s certainly fun to celebrate the 4th of July weekend: BBQ’s, being out on the lake, family and friends around, all during the perfect time of the season – not too hot, near zero chance of rain.

It was certainly a time to celebrate on July 4th, 1776. However, the Declaration of Independence was approved by vote of twelve of the thirteen colonies on that day, it was not officially signed until August 2nd of that year. It was the beginning of a democratic form of government like no other before it.

Is democracy on the way out?

Regardless, here we are 246 years later. Have we, given the rights and responsibilities to maintain that independence, done our part? Some would say that complacency has placed our democratic way of life in jeopardy.

Thomas Jefferson said, “A democratic society depends upon an informed and educated citizenry”. It seems these days that we, as a people, are so bombarded with so much information from so many sources that it’s easy to give in to the first headline or post that we see. Critical thinking has become too hard. Social media makes it easy to talk instead of listening. We all like to be heard, as long as the audience agrees with us. Mob speak seems to be the order of the day.

We at The Highway 58 Herald don’t purport to have the answers. We do intend, however, to present the facts that will help you become “…an informed and educated citizenry”.

Be positively involved

Be slightly suspicious of everything you hear or read – what does the other side have to say about it? Ask the hard questions of your local government. Criticism without a viable solution falls on deaf ears. Act. Be the participatory government we were established to be.

Like so many of our holidays, the 4th of July has turned more toward commercialism and away from the reason for our celebration. If you don’t read books much any more, get on your computer, phone, or tablet and google some of the words that our founding fathers tried to instill in us so that our democracy might flourish.

And, if you do have fireworks, be especially safe.

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