With over 300 days of sunshine a year, we know Arizonans love their sunshine. This week, Americans nationwide celebrate a different kind of sunshine ’" the kind that opens government’s doors and shines the light of liberty on its affairs.
Sunshine Week celebrates citizens’ right to know what their government is doing. And an important aspect of our American democracy is the role of citizens as guardians of our liberty. Active evaluation of government keeps it in check and helps stop abuses and scandals before they happen. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis got it right when he said that sunlight really is the best disinfectant.
Our role is enshrined in The First Amendment. The framers of our federal constitution trusted citizens to be masters of their government. In our modern age, increased transparency helps citizens retain their historical role in overseeing government. At its core, Sunshine Week reminds us that an informed citizenry is vital to the functioning of our democratic society.
Darkness in government affairs has no valid place in our democracy. Arizonans can be thankful that the state’s open meeting and records laws are a helpful step in the right direction. Let the light shine in!