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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Editorial: It's Not Optional--Openness Is Essential to the Survival of the Republic

"Today, we commemorate the Declaration of Independence, a bold experiment that put ultimate authority in the hands of the people rather than the government. But as James Madison once said, 'A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.'
So we observe a lesser known anniversary, too. The federal Freedom of Information Act took effect 41 years ago today, necessitated by government's aversion to openness." (link to first page of editorial; viewing next pages requires subscription to Spokesman-Review)

This excellent editorial provides several concrete examples of why open-government laws allow us to enjoy the republic we fought to obtain 231 years ago. There is a clear link--even 231 year later--between the public knowing information about their government and the public exercising their freedoms. Think about it.

This open-government stuff is extremely serious business. It's about freedom.