Happy Fourth of July, or as Marshall reminds me, Independence Day. It was 236 years ago that the residents of the colonies decided that they knew a better way to govern themselves and their neighbors than their English overseers.

Cherish this independence because many people on the planet envy us, desire it or have no idea of its value.

We honor Memorial Day and Veterans Day because of this independence.

While the flags, banners and bunting remind us of our heritage, they are just decorations.

Rather, it’s the actions we have, and often take for granted, that demonstrate the value of government.

Free elections, freedom of religion, free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to avoid self-incrimination, freedom from double jeopardy and unreasonable search and seizure, the right to bear arms, the right to due process, and, especially, a free press are a few of our special rights.

For example, see how many letters to the editor we received, coincidentally this week.

Martha Snyder’s opinion piece last week about closing Idyllwild Pines Camp to the community provoked several letters. But here in the U.S., she has a right to manage the camp, and our readers have the right to agree or to disagree and to express those thoughts.

The change in the Idyllwild librarian is another issue which has caught local attention. Please note that County Librarian Barbara Morrow Williams has shared her thoughts.

But understand that day-to-day management of the Riverside County libraries has been contracted to Library Systems and Services, Inc. The librarians are not county employees.

This is no different than the situation at the Transfer Station. While the Riverside County Waste Management Department owns the land, it contracts with Waste Management Corporation to run the facility.

So join with me in celebrating the life that exists when the yoke of royalty is discarded and we measure our peers on merit rather than money or bloodlines.