01/19/13 — A voice: Protecting our rights requires more than just standing by

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A voice: Protecting our rights requires more than just standing by

Not that many people speak up anymore.

Maybe they are too busy.

Maybe they think no one is listening.

Or maybe they are so used to having a country that represents and protects certain values that they assume the work has already been done.

They couldn't be more wrong.

Change is not always good. Sometimes it is done for the wrong reasons -- power or prestige -- rather than because there is a meaningful need for a philosophical shift.

And sometimes charismatic leaders have a way of cloaking change in fancy words and pretty speeches when it is really the wrong path.

We are about to embark on another four years with President Barack Obama's administration. There will be some personnel changes -- there always are -- and there might even be some policy changes now that there is no need to worry about re-election. There always are, those, too, no matter who sits in the Oval Office.

The decision has been made, and the die is cast, so we move forward.

But that doesn't mean that this is a time to sit silently. Especially now.

Someone has to fight for what they believe in -- and if what you believe in is less government and more opportunity, you have to be vigilant and make your voice heard if you feel that chance is being taken away.

You have to tell Congress "no" when you need to and to remind the president that he is your employee and not the supreme leader.

After all, it is your country.

There needs to be a healthy debate in this country -- a real look at the direction we are heading and if we want to continue down that path.

And that discussion is not just for those who are sitting in Washington.

This country's greatest gift is the right to speak up, the right to help determine your own destiny as a citizen -- no matter which side of the aisle you claim.

Now is the time to take advantage of that right -- and to make sure that the choices being made in Washington are the ones you want to see.

That should be the next step.

And it begins with citizens who do not sit silent anymore.

It will spark a debate that we need to have, a discussion of realities and priorities.

And the fact that we can have such a debate is just another example of why we should be proud to be Americans -- and fulfill our responsibilities as citizens.

It is the freedom to command our own fate.

And it is a chance we should not squander.

Published in Editorials on January 19, 2013 10:40 PM