By Paul Gorski
The Fourth of July is a time for many of us to relax, visit family and friends, and watch some great fireworks — but take time to exercise your rights of free speech and freedom of assembly.
I encourage you to contact your state and local politicians and share your views with them. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and local politicians and political candidates will be walking in Rockford’s Fourth of July parade. Walk in the parade with the politician of your choice. You may not be able to write big checks, but you can stand with a candidate you support.
Not the parade-walking type? Contact your elected officials by phone, e-mail or U.S. mail and share your thoughts and opinions. Members of Congress should be in their home districts this summer — seek them out and tell them what is on your mind.
I give tips on writing politicians in my column: “Meet John Doe: How to write your politician a letter or e-mail,” posted April 29 (http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/04/29/meet-john-doe-how-to-write-your-politician-a-letter-or-e-mail/).
If you need inspiration, please take up some of my causes. Ask your local aldermen and county board members to help bring back the Rockford Junior Achievement program. I discussed this in my column “Meet John Doe: Transform Rockford should bring back the Junior Achievement program” posted Feb. 18 (http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/02/18/meet-john-doe-transform-rockford-should-bring-back-the-junior-achievement-program/).
Junior Achievement (JA) is a national educational program that inspires school-age children to look to the future, to plan on building their own futures. JA’s tagline is “Turning kids of today into entrepreneurs of tomorrow.” The local JA office closed almost five years ago because of a lack of funding and sponsorship from local businesses. JA trains and inspires our youth to plan for professional careers with the help of local business. The program seems like a good match for the current Transform Rockford movement.
On the federal level, ask your senators and representatives in Congress to support a constitutional amendment that prevents the buying of elections and corruption that big money can bring to an election. Brandon Reid raised this topic in “Editorial: Amendment needed to save ‘government of the people’,” from the April 30 edition. Your vote should be more important than big money, so let us work together to restore the value of our vote to the election process.
My goals may not be your goals, and that is OK. You must certainly have ideas, suggestions, and/or opinions that you would like to share with our politicians. So, speak up. Change is possible. If you think your ideas are “pie-in-the-sky” or not achievable, remember that this country was started by dreamers who had tough goals, but they planned and fought so we may enjoy this Independence Day with our family and friends. You honor and continue the mission of our founders by working with politicians to achieve common goals. Enjoy the holiday.
Paul Gorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.
From the July 2-8, 2014, issue