Shining the light on government

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 26, 2009

President Barack Obama signed two executive orders during his first day in office that go a long way in keeping the citizens of this country informed about their government’s activities.

He sent an order to the U.S. Attorney General to issue new guidelines for the Freedom of Information Act.

All government departments and agencies will dispense all information to citizens and the press without regard to whether or not the information may be embarrassing to a government employee or agency.

President Obama said the FOIA should be “administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.”

The president also issued an executive order that limits the ability of former presidents and vice-presidents to block the release of sensitive records of their time in the White House.

Both these proclamations allow more light to be focused on the operations of the federal government, and also illustrates our new president’s promise to make the government more transparent to its citizens.

We admit this will make the job of the press much easier when reporting government news, but more importantly, these two executive orders re-establish the Constitutional right to a free press and to a government that is run by and for the people.

President Obama understands the true cornerstone of a democracy, that the people, not the officials they elect, are in charge. We the people are the bosses, and the politicians are our employees, and have no excuse for keeping their actions secret from the voters.

If these two executive orders are any indication of what the Obama administration really believes in, then we should all breathe a sigh of relief that the light of scrutiny will shine long and bright on governmental affairs.