Opinion

Sound off: League presidents call for greater civic participation

By Mendy McLean-Stone

and Joyce Peterson

Whidbey Island League of Women Voters marked the 218th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights with a call for civic vigilance and participation on Whidbey Island.

For almost 90 years, the League of Women Voters has defended civil liberties and promoted citizen engagement in democracy, and we continue this work today. It is particularly important for Americans, even in between “big” elections, to recognize the critical importance of protecting and honoring our most cherished constitutional rights.

Throughout the year, League members work in our community to protect our liberties and make the most of them by encouraging voting, discussing important issues, and holding elected officials accountable for their actions.

The League on Whidbey Island has sponsored several voters forums, a health care reform public discussion, and opportunities to interact with state legislators in the last year.

The protection of the individual liberties laid out in the Bill of Rights has been central to the League’s work throughout its history. During World War II, the League worked to balance the preservation of civil liberties with the importance of national security. During the Communist “witch hunt” period of the early 1950s, the League conducted a community education program known as the Freedom Agenda, providing Americans with the opportunity to discuss and learn about the Bill of Rights.

More recently, the League has promoted a diverse and independent judiciary, advocated against warrantless domestic surveillance and other harmful elements of the Patriot Act, and sponsored numerous education projects aimed at informing citizens of their rights.

The Bill of Rights is not only an important part of our nation’s history; it is a living document that will guide us into the future.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 89 years of experience and 850 local and state affiliates, the League is one of America’s most trusted grassroots organizations.

Join us in making democracy work! Visit www.lwvwa.org or www.lwv.org for more information.

By Mendy McLean-Stone and Joyce Peterson and presidents of the Whidbey Island League of Women Voters.

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