On July 4, 1776, our founding fathers brought forth a new nation, unshackling us from the dictates of an overseas ruler. These men came from all walks of life; some were lawyers, others were authors, still others were farmers. Regardless of their different backgrounds, they all shared a deep conviction in the fundamental self-evident truths “that all men are created equal, that are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Independence Day provides us with an ideal opportunity to reflect on our history and renew our understanding of our unalienable rights as American citizens. We have the right to vote for the individuals who represent us in our government. We have the right to freely share our opinions with others and profess our faith howsoever we choose. We have the right to be secure in our property and not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. And we have a judicial system in place prepared to defend our rights when they have been violated. We often forget just how fortunate we are to live in a nation in which the rights of the people are paramount. This national holiday presents an opportune time to remind ourselves of these freedoms we are able to enjoy every day.
In order to secure these rights and freedoms, our founders believed that a particular form of government must be instituted. The Declaration of Independence declares that government’s power is only just when it is derived from the “consent of the governed.” The authors of this document—primarily Thomas Jefferson, joined by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman—understood that republican self-government offered the best chance that the rights of the people would not be infringed.
It is important to remember that as American citizens, self-government is not only a right; it is a duty. It is our duty to take part in our governing body and enhance our civic engagement. We can do this by voting in each election, in both local and national races. Additionally, we can become more involved by engaging in discussion with our fellow Americans about what issues concern us most. You can also become more civically involved by participating in the legislative process right here in the state of Ohio.
My colleagues in the Ohio Senate and I always welcome discussions with constituents. When we are aware of what issues matter to you most, it helps us better serve you in the Senate. If there is a piece of legislation that you feel strongly about, you are welcome to provide testimony in committee should that bill receive a hearing. My staff and I would be happy to assist you in becoming more involved in this process. You can write me at Senator John Eklund, Statehouse – Room 143, Columbus, Ohio 43215, email me at Eklund@ohiosenate.gov, or call my office at (614) 644-7718.
I hope this Independence Day you not only enjoy the festivities and celebrations that are taking place all across our district, but also take a few moments to figure out how you can become more civically engaged to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people will continue to flourish in this great nation we call home.