On July 4 we celebrate a remarkable 241 years of a functioning democracy in this nation, of a people standing together and saying with one voice: “We can be smart enough, tough enough, kind enough, thoughtful enough and far-seeing enough to govern ourselves.” Certainly those 241 years have been a struggle at times. A nascent nation was governed initially under the Articles of Confederation, replaced in 1789 by the U.S. Constitution, a surprisingly sturdy but flexible document that has managed to hold together this nation, and its democratic tradition, through a civil war, two world wars, a major depression and several economic recessions, plenty of political upheavals, 17 constitutional amendments that followed the Bill of Rights, along with a technological revolution. The forethought of those Founding Fathers more than two centuries ago is astounding. We hope you will join us this Fourth of July as we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence – Santa Clarita Valley style – from blueberry pancakes to mall-front fireworks and an 85-year-old parade tradition along the way. See the Fourth of July page on B6 of Friday’s Signal for details about activities. At the same time we urge you to recommit to those hard-earned democratic principles the Founding Fathers gave us. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of everyday life get in the way of voting, of taking a political stand, of becoming involved and influencing your world. To protect our democracy, we must move ahead with the same passion for good governance as our forefathers had 241 years ago. “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” -Robert M. Hutchins, American educational philosopher, dean of Yale Law School.