Dear Editor,
July 4th we recognize and celebrate Independence Day–the day of the birth of a new nation of 13 colonies with the opportunity and challenge to chart a new path with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Our first efforts in 1776, under the Articles of Confederation, failed, essentially because we could not pay our bills. By 1789, the Articles were replaced by a new constitution through “we the people” could form a “more perfect Union”. The new constitution established a Republic of representative government.
We have spent the last 200 years trying to live up to the ideas and ideals of a Constitution designed to form a “more perfect union”. The task continues. We have amended the Constitution 27 times, four are pending. We are still not perfect.
In important ways, we have evolved from a constitutional republic into a complex democracy that requires more from our citizenry than ever in our history. However, we are a disenchanted, angry, cynical, apathetic, un-involved and polarized people—an unhealthy democracy.
We, as citizens who hold the highest office in a democracy, can and must do better for our nation and its polity and its processes of democracy.
To this end and as a part of our Independence Day observances, the Lee County Spirit of Democracy (SOD), a nonpartisan, grassroots movement,  invites the public to attend a free public program of information and celebration on the “Values of Democracy” from 9:45 to 11:30 a.m, July 1 at the Harris Center, located at 325 Perry St. in Auburn.
Gerald Johnson
President, Spirit of Democracy
AU Emeritus Professor of Political Science