- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As the Editorial Board of The Washington Times - the publishers, editors and writers responsible for the daily Commentary section - we see our role as upholding the principles of America’s founding. A key part of that duty is to hear the voice of the American people as well. We aim to inform, to listen and to influence.

While the principles that we advocate - individual liberty and limited government - do not change with the winds of public opinion, the focus of our work should be determined by the concerns of the people. And we hear Americans speaking. And we hear that most are not happy. And you have told us why.

It is because the size and scope of government have grown in recent years and, in the past year, have grown at a pace that is horrifying to most Americans. Government is growing so quickly it threatens the quality of your life and threatens to take control of your life. The Washington leviathan threatens to eclipse the light of freedom.

Most Washington leaders have forgotten that the greatness of America is in the hearts and minds of her people. The successful government is one that fosters an environment in which the people can pursue their own vision of happiness. Mostly, that means staying out of the way.

Life in the Washington cocoon - marble-floored and walnut-paneled - makes it easy for too many to forget that they were sent here to serve and, most important, to preserve the American liberty and greatness that already exist. The perquisites and trappings of personal power,too often exercised behind closed doors, allow leaders to forget and begin to think that America is something they need to fix, not an ideal they need to defend.

Why does each one of us get up in the morning? To create, to work and to enjoy the fruits of our labors, for ourselves, our families and our communities.

Most of us appreciate that there is a proper role for government. But we all also understand that the government has gone far beyond those boundaries.

And as the government expands into more areas of our lives, it doesn’t just take away our freedoms. It strips us of even more of our earnings to fund its growing interference in our lives.

Too few in Washington have been listening. And when they don’t, Americans have a right to be angry. When the total tax take from American families is equal to the first four or five months of labor every year, it is unreasonable for the government to demand more and more while telling us it is for our own good.

And you are telling us all of this - day after day - with intelligence - and with emotion.

You tell us that in the past 365 days, government spending has careened off the path of prudence and seems out of control. You also have told your elected representatives, and many of them have not responded.

We agree that the current leadership - with eyes focused more on special-interest allies than public service - is propelling our nation far from the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We see the glimmerings of an American nightmare. That vision is now so obvious that even in the states where government is most popular, the plans of this administration are fueling a historic backlash.

There is a role for government. Managing our lives from cradle to grave isn’t what the Founders stood for. Nor is that what Americans today have in mind.

We have concluded that such a serious problem requires a focused and determined response. The Washington Times Editorial Board therefore commits to you that each day over the next 365 days, we will work tirelessly to refocus Washington on how to shrink government and solve problems by giving responsibility and resources back to the individuals and families and businesses where they belong.

Once there was a political campaign that aimed to abolish Cabinet agencies and return government to its proper role. Yet once a campaign is over, promises to the American people are often forgotten and important issues get shelved for another day.

The time to reduce the size of government is now.

As an independent, multimedia newspaper company, we will do our part. In return, we ask you to keep talking to us and to stay engaged, knowing that the future of your families and of the American principle of limited government is at stake.

Let America be America again. It’s up to you.

Jonathan Slevin is president and publisher of The Washington Times.

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