Access to documents is critical in free society

To the Editor:

This battle is not yet won, but along with a little help from you I hope to illustrate what's wrong with our Freedom of Information Act laws. It is a shame that it's so difficult for an average citizen to exercise his right to public documents. The Illinois Attorney General has helped a little bit, but I have had to jump up and down to get anything. The fact is, that unless we add some real enforcement provisions to these laws, they will continue to be ignored by our government bodies.

Few rights are more important in a free society than access to public documents. If we don't have access, how can we make informed decisions about anything? How do we know what is true and what isn't? To all of you who have been there for me, I say thank you. My cause is that of freedom. My cause is that of liberty.

This battle is far from over, but I will leave with the words that inspire me when all seems dark and my spirit is low. I know some of you have seen this before, but these words are words of freedom to me:

"Oppression! I have seen thee, face to face,
And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow,
But thy soul-withering glance I fear not now --
For dread to prouder feelings doth give place
Of deep abhorrence! Scorning the disgrace
Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,
I also kneel -- but with far other vow
Do hail thee and thy herd of hirelings base: --
I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,
Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,
Thy brutalising sway -- till Afric's chains
Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land, --
Trampling Oppression and his iron rod:
Such is the vow I take -- SO HELP ME GOD!"

--(Thomas Pringle)

Brad VanHoose
Caseyville

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