Distasio Law - March 2020

MAR 2020

(813) 259-0022 | www.distasiofirm.com LIFE & THE LAW

With Great Freedom Comes Great Appreciation

We live in the greatest country in the world because of all the freedoms we have. The freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion are just a few privileges that allow us to live our lives to their fullest in ways that we see fit or fair. March 16 has been declared Freedom of Information Day, and we should all recognize that it’s such an immensely important freedom and shouldn’t be undervalued, no matter how the political climate affects our perspectives and biases. But instead of using this climate to shout about our opinions, we can use it as an opportunity to realize why freedom of information is so important. The Freedom of Information Act went into effect on July 5, 1967. It’s a federal law that requires the disclosure of unreleased information and/or documents that are controlled by the U.S. government upon request by the American public. This act is often utilized by news organizations for reporting purposes, but its uses go far beyond that. Businesses, law firms, and individuals are much more frequent utilizers of this law than even the thousands of news outlets across the nation. Requests for government information are frequent and serve a variety of purposes. When it comes to politics, it’s fascinating to see just how this act supports the intentions that our forefathers had at the very birth of our country.

each other all the time. In fact, it seems like we rarely agree with each other. But it’s that ability to disagree, to make arguments, and to use certain rights and freedoms to support our actions that makes this an inspiring system. There are many countries in the world where this type of freedom is not only illegal, but seriously punishable. Whatever stance you take on the way things are progressing with the current state of our government and its leaders is entirely up to you. I’m not here to take sides or pass judgment on President Trump’s impeachment trial. But regardless of who did what, who believes what, or what the outcome is, the fact that a major trial revolving around freedom of information has occurred at all speaks to the power of the checks and balances at the foundation of our country’s government. It’s amazing to think about when you step back and look at it. This system is history brought to life. This is democracy at work. We could all stand to appreciate the freedoms this system gives us, even if things may not always go the way we want.

They understood how private and individual interests can be immensely strong motivators of behavior. That’s why there are three separate government branches: judicial, executive, and legislative. They exist so there’s a system of checks and balances in government. This allows Americans to make choices for themselves, instead of having a single entity dictate everything they do. Thanks to things like the Freedom of Information Act, the public has the right to seek out the information they want access to, interpret it how they want, and react. It’s certainly not a perfect system. Sometimes, the public makes the wrong choice. Other times, people make a really bad choice. But despite that, the beauty of this system is that the public has that choice to begin with. We have the ability to access what we need to make the choices we want. We don’t all agree with

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