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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Free to disagree

July 4, 2013

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It’s easy to get frustrated with our American government, but a look around the world offers some good reminders of why U.S. democracy is worth celebrating on the Fourth of July and every other day of the year.

Americans certainly have reason to be disturbed by the partisan gridlock currently gripping the U.S. Congress, particularly the U.S. House. Too many of our elected representatives would rather take no action on a national issue than to accept anything that looks like a political compromise. Partisan victories are taking precedence over the nation’s welfare.

Some states, including Kansas, also are being wracked by partisan divisions. Texas, for instance, has been the focus of attention in the last week for State. Sen. Wendy Davis’ dramatic filibuster that temporarily derailed legislation to add sweeping restrictions to the state’s abortion laws.

There’s no doubt that Americans on both ends of the political spectrum are frustrated and angry. With that in mind, the Fourth of July is an appropriate time to remind all Americans how fortunate we are to live in a country that allows us to freely express our frustration with the government and many of our elected officials. We also have the right — and duty — to participate in that government. In a way, it’s good that people are angry, because it means they are paying attention to their government and seeing a need to change things. The next step is to translate that anger into action by running for office or supporting candidates who share your priorities.

American democracy offers a framework and stability that has served the country well for more than 200 years. Power moves smoothly from one set of leaders to another without violent protests or military coups, as so often happens in other parts of the world.

Americans have reason to be frustrated with the government right now, and our elected officials should hear that frustration and try to clean up their act. This is a great country, but its greatness is built on a spirit of compromise and a willingness to put aside narrow political interests in order to move the country forward. A win for your party isn’t always a win for the nation.

American democracy may not be perfect, but it gives us an unprecedented opportunity to voice our opinions and institute change. It’s a precious institution worth protecting and celebrating.

Happy Fourth of July.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 5 months ago

Then why the intensive spy mechanisms on USA citizens?

And why this?

This policy deserves to be called in, put in the trash never to be seen again. "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” (Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

The WRONG Policy.

--- http://www.antiwar.com/orig/stockbauer1.html

--- http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

--- http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html

--- http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm

Richard Heckler 1 year, 5 months ago

There is also concern about the impacts of "explosions" and how it must affect many many of our veterans who suffer daily with PTSD. The dramatic impact it could have on family members as well.

This concern has surfaced in the past. It surfaced again yesterday on radio news. Something to think about.

What is PTSD? http://maketheconnection.net/conditions/ptsd?gclid=CLaGwe38lbgCFVNo7AodmTQAuQ

seebarginn 1 year, 5 months ago

If that's true, then they know they have nothing to fear from anyone commenting here.

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

Your'e on the list now for exposing them. Better get to Hong Kong!

Myself, I welcome whichever new overlords we have today. And you, Agent Jones, you have a nice 4th,

Kirk Larson 1 year, 5 months ago

Frustrating and exasperating is not the same as destructive.

seebarginn 1 year, 5 months ago

I commend LJW for getting rid of message boards for the certain stories, including the one you mention, CriticalThought. The LJW has no obligation to provide message boards for any stories, and it's been shown time and again that most comments on certain stories are mean-spirited crap or statements of the obvious. The LJW does, however, provide blogging space, guest column space, and letters to the editor space, so if folks can't have message boards in some instances, tough.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 5 months ago

Rights and responsibilities are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other.

jafs 1 year, 5 months ago

Sure you can.

But, CT's comment is more about consequences - if there are serious negative consequences (undeserved), then exercising one's rights isn't easy, and it perhaps cuts into the idea that they are "rights".

At least, that's the way I read it.

seebarginn 1 year, 5 months ago

For many groups and individuals throughout the history of this country, exercising rights has not only been difficult, but often dangerous. Yet so many of those people kept on fighting for their rights as US citizens. As a result, we are still moving toward a more perfect, not a perfect, union, in which opportunity is available to more people than ever before, regardless of race, sexuality, class, gender, disability, et al.

But to hear some people tell it, just about everything was as free as free could be, as American as apple pie, and rights were plentiful and easily exercised, until one fateful day in late January 2009. That's not just the undercurrent, it's the blatant message of so much discourse these days. It's nonsense in every way something can be nonsense, but people do have a right to talk nonsense, and no right to expect they won't be called on it.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 5 months ago

My belief is that you do not do as your conscience dictates to curry favor or to escape the consequences of your words and actions. Long ago, President John F. Kennedy wrote an excellent books, "Profiles of Courage", about men who were vilified and even put in prison for their words. Yet they persevered. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter from Birmingham jail in which he took certain ministers to task for not speaking up. Mandela spent twenty years in prison for not speaking up. In "Inferno," by Dan Brown we learn that Dante thought that the deepest pit of hell was reserved for those who did not speak up, but stood idly by.

Liberty275 1 year, 5 months ago

Really? I have the right to due process. What is my responsibility that goes along with that right?

seebarginn 1 year, 5 months ago

Critical thought, you are right that "the sound of one's voice" cannot stop things that governments do that citizens dislike, whether those things include items on your list (which I find to be undermined by exaggerations and factual inaccuracies) or other things that you might think are just dandy, but which others find oppressive. No, it takes much more than talk, or letters to the editor, or voting, or posting to message boards. It takes sustained, organized, sometimes very dangerous, hard work, but people have changed many things in this country, many of them for the better, as the African American freedom struggle proved. The work of that movement isn't finished either, but obviously, one's voice doesn't mean much unless one is willing to do more than talk or write.

George Lippencott 1 year, 5 months ago

Another classic plea for all of us to get along!! But the kicker is that the villains are in the House – the Republicans. Could there be other miscreants?

We are admonished to become involved and run for public office. Of course the “Tea Party” frequently maligned in these pages is exactly that – a group of people involved because they want lower taxes and less government.

I remember the “Cold War”. Our friends the Soviets would make a demand. We would be pressured by our left to compromise. In those days we rarely made counter demands that could lead to a compromise without loss. The outcome was seldom favorable to us.

Of late we have corrected that lapse. The 30 % of us in the Democratic camp demand expanded public services and have in that pursuit created a massive annual deficit. They then demand a compromise - raising taxes and cutting public employees incomes. The Republicans refuse. The compromise demanded by the 30% of the population in their camp is from the baseline budget and not from the bloated deficit ridden mess we have today. They refuse to pay more taxes – they do pay a tidy sum!

I see little room for compromise on the basic issue of the scope of government. That discord colors all other efforts by our federal government. The only dream of the protagonists is to win total control of both branches of the federal government so as to be able to impose the full spectrum of the winner’s platform. All actions are to that end – and those actions include distortion and outright lies.

Perhaps we could find some compromise if we approach the fundamental challenge of the scope of government from the direction of just how much should the governments take from those in our society who are gainfully employed and pay taxes. That would help better scope the portion of the budget available to the many in our society who do neither.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 5 months ago

Why are we required to answer questions before seeing articles?

Phil Minkin 1 year, 5 months ago

I got the following email reply and am quite impressed. Dear reader,

Thanks for your website comment on Google Consumer Surveys. It is appreciated and I take it to heart.

We did not make this decision lightly; we studied it for more than a year before implementing Google Surveys. Our goal has been to maintain advertiser-supported LJWorld.com and KUsports.com websites whose content are the most comprehensive and relevant available and also are free to users. Our partnership with Google provides revenue needed to fund ongoing costs of gathering content and operating the sites. At this point, we believe this to be a better model for our readers and advertisers than a subscription-based website.

I will share with you that our mobile website (m.LJWorld.com and m.kusports.com) include most all of the content that our main website has but does not include Google Surveys.

I apologize that Google Surveys may interrupt your enjoyment of the our sites. I hope you will give it try and/or access us using the alternative method mentioned above.

Thanks again for your feedback. Input from readers like you is always helpful in evaluating content and revenue strategies such as Google Surveys.

Sincerely,

Suzanne

Richard Heckler 1 year, 5 months ago

TIMELINE

1968 November 5 - Richard Milhous Nixon, the 55-year-old former vice president who lost the presidency for the Republicans in 1960, reclaims it by defeating Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest elections in U.S. history. Post Story

1969 January 21 - Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th president of the United States. Post Story

1970 July 23 - Nixon approves a plan for greatly expanding domestic intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA and other agencies. He has second thoughts a few days later and rescinds his approval.

1971 June 13 - The New York Times begins publishing the Pentagon Papers - the Defense Department's secret history of the Vietnam War. The Washington Post will begin publishing the papers later that same week.

September 3 - The White House "plumbers" unit - named for their orders to plug leaks in the administration - burglarizes a psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

1972 June 17 - Five men, one of whom says he used to work for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30 a.m. trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex. Post Story

June 19 - A GOP security aide is among the Watergate burglars, The Washington Post reports. Former attorney general John Mitchell, head of the Nixon reelection campaign, denies any link to the operation. Post Story

More on this Watergate event http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/timeline.html

Trumbull 1 year, 5 months ago

Well I am going to be the devils advocate here. Compromise has done our country good. They are a part of checks and balances. But....... compromise is a slow process, especially when congress is filled with a bunch of knuckleheads who would like to see the country fail if it wins their party points. Who want to see the US treasury fail, to win their party some points. Just like the Republicans during the debt ceiling crisis.

So now-days, when we do get compromise, it is watered down, and ineffective like the Affordable Care Act. Our last big civil uprising was the hippie movement. And what did that get us? Richard Nixon.

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