James Madison, sometimes referred to as "the Father of the Constitution," was born on this date in 1751. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Madison for his work in framing the Bill of Rights and writing many of the Federalist Papers (anonymously). The ACLU of MAINE continues to defend anonymous political speech in the tradition of the Federalist papers today.
James Madison also said, ""(A) popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
Sunshine Week commemorates Madison's famous phrase "the power which knowledge gives." This week we celebrate Sunshine Week and the spirt of open government and freedom of information, so that the people may be fully equipped to make the best decisions about our representation. Freedom of information is truly key to an informed and healthy democracy.
Michelle Small of the League of Women Voters and the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition has a terrific op-ed in the Brunswick Times Record titled "Don't Cast a Cloud Over Sunshine Week." Her piece is full of good information about what the public has access to and how. As she notes, Governor LePage has made several disturbing statements about the Freedom of Information Act and Maine's Right to Know Laws this week and last. We have a right to know how public officials make the decisions that affect our lives, and that includes who they are meeting with and what advice they are getting. We agree with the Maine Heritage Policy Center that secret business advisory councils to the Governor are wrong. Governor LePage could do honor to Mr. Madison by letting the sun shine in.