“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” — Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 1788
Sunshine Week, according to their website, “…was created by the American Society of News Editors and is now coordinated in partnership with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, but freedom of information isn’t just a press issue. It is a cornerstone of democracy, enlightening and empowering people to play an active role in their government at all levels. It helps keep public officials honest, makes government more efficient and provides a check against abuse of power.” The annual event was started in 2005, and more information – along with suggested ways to mark the week yourself – can be found on their website.
Regular readers, and those that know me outside of this blog, know that I share our Founding Fathers’ belief that, no matter how irritating the press can be to politicians, a free press is critical to the survival of our nation. I also share their belief in governmental transparency. I recognize that nations could not survive without secrets (there’s a reason why spying is considered the second oldest profession), but I also recognize that Patrick Henry had a point – our security, and our freedom, is threatened when we allow ourselves to be kept in the dark – unlike mushrooms, we need sunlight.
Sunshine Week is intended help us stay in the light by encouraging ‘we the people” to be aware and involved – and by carrying that into the remaining 51 weeks of the year, we can help reduce governmental abuses by making sure that we stay informed, and that our voices are heard all year long.
So let the sunshine in…