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Independence Day

Kevin R. Goffe

Please take a few minutes on your Independence Day holiday to appreciate the freedom we often take for granted. Here are a couple thoughts to consider:

Reading one of today’s headlines Lam Wing Kee: Hong Kong bookseller ‘won’t lead march due to safety fears’ - Mr. Lam returned to Hong Kong in June after being detained in mainland China for 8 months. He was one of 5 booksellers reported missing last year. All were linked to books critical of China’s leadership. The July 1 “pro-independence” rally on the nineteenth anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China is expected to draw 100,000 participants greatly surpassing last year’s 48,000 participants. Mr. Lam was brave enough to hold a press conference upon his return to Hong Kong in violation of his release agreement, but fears his participation is the rally will not be tolerated by authorities.

Our country is in the midst of one of its most historic Presidential election campaigns. Making the right choice is the responsibility of every American. Although participation rates of eligible voters has risen in the last 10 years from about 50% to 65%, it is significantly below that of the 1800’s when it ranged from 75% to 80%. The shocking part is that the “voters” represent slightly more than 40% of the total population.

Just this past week Great Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union drew 72% of voters to the poles. Today Australians are casting their ballots in federal elections (voting is compulsory) with turnout of 95% expected. Voters as far away as Antarctica are braving early “winter” conditions of -40C.

Although the power of putting choice in the hands of the people can result in greater uncertainty and upheaval, as is still being felt following the choice of Britons to leave the European Union, it is still the will of the people. To be self-governed is the true source of Independence.

Enjoy a safe Independence Day!

Kevin R. Goffe
President & Chief Executive Officer