I was not quite 13 when my dad took me to protest outside the cathedral in Seattle. I was a cradle Catholic, but my dad was a passionate convert. He ardently believed that Seattle’s archbishop at the time wasn’t expressing pro-life views and he was determined to make that position known. That’s how it all began for me — my duty to hold those in power accountable.

Many misjudge the relationship we have with those in power. That congressional representative is so nice, we may think. He or she is just a great guy or lady. But the truth is that those politicians have power. They may seem nice but the relationship you have with them is not balanced.

They have power not only over legislation that impacts our direct lives. They have power over our persons — physically through their potential seeking or using of force and mentally through our mutual subconscious knowledge that they are in charge. The same goes with everyone in power: employers, coaches, law enforcement, politicians, teachers, clergy. We constantly forget, as those in power can also forget, that in these relationships there can be no equal status between those in power and those who are not. Unfortunately, we are all fallen. We can’t simply rely on those in power to be good people.

That’s where transparency comes in. Without transparency to bring light to dark places, there’d be no justice. Politicians could pass legislation to affect our lives in total secret. Those who’ve victimized people under their power could keep on doing so with no one the wiser. When the light of transparency dies, darkness permeates those places that were once bright and open. But when there is transparency, when there is someone to tell the truth about what is happening among those in power, there is light and there are people who can see the truth and hold those in power to account. This transparency is why our forefathers gave us freedom of the press, even when it highlighted things they didn’t like. These wise men knew that to have the system of government they wanted, there would need to be accountability and there would need to be light.

As Christians, we should all aspire to live in the light and to defend transparency and accountability for all those in power in our lives.