The Role of Government

This week's cover story brings up some important questions about the relationship between citizens and the government.

Tim Vanderpool's story on the Klump family--one of the most interesting families in the entire state--is fascinating on a number of levels, particularly the way Wally Klump explains his feelings on what to do when government goes awry.

Wally Klump, who believed the government was wrong to order him to remove his cattle from federal land, reportedly told The New York Times: "The founding fathers gave the individual a gun to fight the tyranny of the government. What's that mean? The bearer can kill someone in government if the reason is justified. But it's never been tested. I told them, you take those cows, I'll kill you as mandated by the Second Amendment."

Now, I think almost all of us will agree that Wally Klump goes way, way too far here. Even if you buy his argument that because his family has worked the land, they should own it--and that's an enormous "if"--the idea of shooting government officials who dare to remove cows from a specific location is insane.

But this raises the question: What should we, as good citizens, do when the government does go awry?

Violence isn't the answer, for sure. On the other side of the spectrum, apathy and actionless disillusionment aren't, either. The answer sits somewhere in between. The answer is to somehow, some way, take peaceful steps to right the wrongs. And in an era when government lies, spin and secrecy are becoming more and more the rule, there are more wrongs to right than ever.

The answer is clear: Get involved. So, how exactly do you intend to do that?

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