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We are all here to build this nation

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Editor: According to Eyler Robert Coates Sr (1999), Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, in 1787 stated: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”{{more}}

The above quote refers to Thomas Jefferson’s opinion on freedom of the press as well as freedom of expression. What I found very important about the statement is his acknowledgement of the fact that the basis of our governments is the opinion of the people and that the very first object should be to keep that right. According to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index, press freedom is now in decline in almost every part of the world, with only 17 per cent of the world’s citizens living in countries where the press is free (Freedom House, Inc.). This is a very troubling trend. We live in a world plagued with problems, and it is unthinkable that in these modern times, a handful of men and women should dictate the future conditions in which thousand of others live. There is something wrong with the political system that most of us exist in.

If we continue to allow politicians and other public figures to disrespect us, a political disease that is almost impossible to cure can develop. One only needs to do a little research on the political climate in places like Zimbabwe to get a feel for what I am writing about. We should not make politicians and other public figures become menaces who are difficult to control when the need arises. Let us stop them while we can. Show them that the political power in any country belongs to the majority who should operate in the best interest of the nation and not a handful of political elites who potentially have their own political and personal agendas to fulfill.

We all have a right to engage in intelligent discourse in an attempt to progress our nation. It is not in our interest to silence those that are attempting to move our country in a positive direction. There are many who do not appreciate the way law-abiding citizens express their views. However, they must be mindful of the way they conduct themselves. We are all here to build and maintain a nation. Let us always bear that in mind.

Shamal Connell