Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 10, 2013

Government

It’s our right to laugh at it, criticize it or change it

We’re going to remind you of something it behooves us as Americans to remember at times like these, which really are mild compared to those once described by Thomas Paine as trying men’s souls.

Things could be worse ... a lot worse.

School children who act up the way some members of Congress (and other branches of our government) are these days would be sent to a time-out room.

It is absolutely useless to blame one political party or ideology for the tantrums that led to the government shutdown. There is enough blame for all of the participants to share, and they richly deserve it.

Of course, We, the People, don’t escape the blame, either. We, the People, are the ones who elected them.

Unfortunately, government of the people, etc., (as Lincoln described it in his Gettysburg Address) sometimes takes a back seat to government of the special interests, by the biggest campaign donors, for the ideologically inflexible, and so on. That’s the chief cause of our troubles today.

Congress, the state legislatures and the American people were so at odds in Lincoln’s day that the bloodiest war in our history resulted.

When our current mess eventually is eased, it likely will not be resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

Regardless of how it turns out, it is our right as Americans to point fingers, ridicule and complain as loudly as we can about our government, and nothing will happen to us (unless we make threats of harm ... which is always a bad idea).

American rock musicians can mock the government and won’t be locked up for their troubles, which happened to one band in Russia (although they might be investigated by the IRS).

On tomorrow’s editorial page, we will run several cartoons that lampoon Congress, the political parties, the president and government in general. The secret police will not kick down the doors of the cartoonists who drew them, nor will they come to shut down the newspaper for printing them. You can read them and share them with your family, friends and neighbors with absolute impunity.

We’re Americans. We have the right to do this sort of thing. Not everyone else is as fortunate.

We, the People, are still in charge of America — and we should remember that when the next election rolls around. The Republic will survive.

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