Happy Birthday United States!

It’s that special time of year when we celebrate how fortunate we are to be citizens of the United States. We have the right to vote. Our country makes decisions based on the ballot box. Our rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

As we reflect on all the progress made since July 4, 1776, we must remember the brilliance of our founding fathers when they created and then ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Our country’s governing document is the oldest constitution in the world. It was designed to be adaptable for the future, and its adaptability has included amendments such as the Bill of Rights, the enfranchisement for all races of Americans (15th amendment), the enfranchisement of women (19th amendment), and dropping the voting age to 18 (26th amendment).

One of the critical and bedrock functions of the constitution is the concept of Balance of Power. There are three branches of government and they are all supposed to be equal. This idea of checks and balances means that Congress as a whole has responsibilities and authority equal to the Presidential Branch. The Supreme Court has responsibilities and authority equal to each of the other two branches. All three branches are supposed to keep an eye on each other and make sure that the final results of the processes are decisions that are in the best interests of the People.

I’m concerned that the concept of Balance of Power has become weakened over the last two years. It seems to me that many members of Congress just do what they are told to do instead of studying the issues and making sure that their votes are in the best interests of their constituents. When congressional voting records are assessed, it is found that more than 100 members of Congress have a greater than 96 percent agreement rate with the vote directives of the White House.

Now, I can’t think of a single human being that I agree with 96 percent of the time; an agreement rate this high is just not expected or reasonable. And, I firmly believe that Congress is failing to do its job—its job of advocating for constituents, negotiating with White House officials, and maintaining the Balance of Power—that the founding fathers prescribed. It is time to elect members of Congress who will speak up for their constituents and maintain the constitutionally mandated Balance of Power.

I hope all who read this have great 4th of July celebrations. As we celebrate, let’s give thanks that those who came before us created a country that was better than they found it, and let’s make sure we do the same for those who come after us.