We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

John W. Eyster: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

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By John W. Eyster
July 2, 2015

The 4th of July 2015 – is the 239th anniversary for our Declaration of Independence and I am privileged to celebrate the 6th anniversary of this “WE THE PEOPLE” community blog changed to opinion column this year with The Janesville Gazette.  As a community opinion columnist, I have no formal relationship with The Janesville Gazette.  This means I have TOTAL EDITORIAL FREEDOM/INDEPENDENCE to discuss any and all significant public policy issues. 

In 2009, when KYLE GEISSLER invited me to launch his idea of community blogs on the Gazette website, we agreed it would be identified with the title, “WE THE PEOPLE” is the identity for this blog because it is the key principle for our republic as stated in the opening words of our US CONSTITUTION, 'WE THE PEOPLE.” 

What have you pledged to support the “WE THE PEOPLE” principle? Have you joined the signers of our Declaration of Independence in 1776, “…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”?!

Are you an informed and involved citizen of our republic who not only talks about, but WALKS the talk, of our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…”?!

My motivation in accepting the Gazette's invitation to write the WE THE PEOPLE column is based on my long-time mission for democracy/civics education. That mission included the development and maintenance of the WASHINGTON SEMINAR with the week-long field study in Washington, DC which started at Parker High School, Janesville in 1973 and continues with the 43rd WASHINGTON SEMINAR field study earlier this year. The goal of Seminar was and is to provide young citizens with an in-depth, hands-on education for informed and involved citizenship in our republic. NOTE: Every reader of this blog ought to be aware that a person becomes a citizen of the United States when born in the US. This means that our children are US citizens and have numerous rights and responsibilities as US citizens. Yes, even elementary school children. We ought to be empowering them as US citizens!

Anyone and everyone on the Internet has access to read this opinion column and all others on gazettextra.com.  There is provision for COMMENTS on this blog online. I do hope that you will make comments with candor and civility so that this becomes a DIALOG rather than a monologue/lecture. NOTE:  YOU must be a subscriber to the Janesville Gazette and sign-in to post a comment.  Please. Thank you!

I have been told I need to continue explaining my ALL CAPS style of writing. I do NOT follow or accept the usual & customary Internet protocol that ALL CAPS means one is YELLING/SCREAMING. Rather, I find that ALL CAPS are needed to provide the modulation of communication which is natural in my articulation when speaking. One must modulate one's voice for effective oral communication. Why not for effective written communication? When I use ALL CAPS, it is for EMPHASIS. This has long been my writing style, even before the Internet when I was writing using a typewriter in the last century. HA! I have appreciated Frank Schultz's sense of humor when he with his Gazette colleagues wrote a very funny column about quirky behaviors/situations throughout the Janesville area. I felt privileged that Frank asked, “What would happen if the shift key on John Eyster's typewriter broke?” My students laughed! I had been immediately identified with appreciation. THANK YOU, FRANK SCHULTZ!

I shall be writing on this opinion column as time allows.  I was able to write more often previous years, but the combination of my teaching for UW-Whitewater (face-to-face classes) and Viterbo University, LaCrosse (online class) with my wife and I becoming the foster parents of our son's sons – 3 very young boys (4, 2, 13 months) has DRAMATICALLY curtailed my time for NON-CHILDCARE activities.

If you have suggestions for issues/topics for my WE THE PEOPLE opinion column, I welcome reading them on the comments complementing this opinion column or email sent to my email link.

Best wishes to you all – each and every one – for a MEANINGFUL and enjoyable 4th of July 2015!

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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