Edward R. Murrow was right when he said, “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.”
My first two history lessons in elementary school were about our pilgrim fathers and the fight for independence. Prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, our patriot fathers used their English heritage to strengthen their rights for rebellion. In effect, they said the British King and his Parliament betrayed their ancient constitutional principles, especially the Magna Carta.
Our revolutionary forefathers called on England to bear witness against England, invoking the enemy’s glorious past to refute the threatening, inimical present, daring America to live by teachings which the parent country had denied her child.
The spirit of our forefathers lives on today in our working-class West Virginians. Most of us support our teachers because they are seeking a redress of wrongs. We support those in our legislature who, like us, want a government by the people and not one of corporate interests.
When our country or our state’s politicians try to become despots, we, the people, must revive the principles in the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution by holding our government accountable. Let us continue the right of public assembly to voice our discontent.
If our elected officials do not listen, then we must use the ballot box to elect those who want to represent the people. Only then will our West Virginia heritage endure.
Is anybody listening?