Independence through cooperation

Pat O'Loughlin, president and CEO of Ohio's Electric Cooperatives
Pat O’Loughlin, president and CEO of Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives

We hear about independence all the time in our daily lives — independent voters are a hot topic this year, and energy independence has been an important subject of late. Last month’s issue of Country Living featured autonomy and independence as pillars of the seven principles on which electric cooperatives were founded. Independence is a powerful idea that has fueled our country’s growth; that was born of great intellect; and that has been paid for with blood, sweat, and tears.

The path to independence is a study in contrast. To achieve independence individually, our forefathers came together cooperatively to achieve this elusive goal. The last sentence of the Declaration of Independence states the reality quite clearly:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

That’s a real commitment to cooperation.

Independence is not born of ignorance, either. It requires an understanding of and agreement with the principles involved. In its more famous second sentence, the Declaration of Independence once again shines a light on the need for unifying principles:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

While the writers of our Declaration proclaim “these truths to be self-evident,” the record indicates that it took a fair amount of discussion to come to a consensus of these root doctrines. Likewise, Ohio’s electric cooperatives strive to live out their own core principles. They formed a unified band 75 years ago and built an active, structured statewide organization so that they might maintain their independence and provide you with safe, reliable, clean, and affordable electric service, then and into the future.  So far, so good.

I hope each of you enjoys a splendid Independence Day. God bless America!