It is not a Republican or Democrat issue. Freedom is an American principle. In fact, freedom and the pursuit of it, has been the struggle of mankind for centuries. People have fought and died over freedom. People have written about it. People have shed tears over it. It is only appropriate that as we start our celebration of the 4th of July that we take time to reflect on freedom. Despite it being 2013, freedom still means something.
You may not know it, but there are still a lot of freedom loving Americans. All we ever see on the news are the gossip tabloids of the so called “famous.” We hear about who is sleeping with who and we are dizzied with the discussions of the new tech phase. Popularity still motivates many, yet despite these shortcomings, freedom lies at the heart of it all. For without freedom, we could never even have the chance to get upset about the government spying on our daily lives through email, texts and web searches. That is what makes this discussion today even more poignant. We recently discovered that despite the promises of both parties to the contrary, our nation is awash in breaches of liberty and freedom. It is not something we should lay at the foot of just Democrats because President Obama happens to be a Democrat. It started (probably even earlier) with President George W. Bush. Back then when President Bush wanted to pass the Patriot Act the Democrats were up in arms over the violations of the constitution while Republicans said it was necessary for security. Then President Obama did it and the roles were reversed. Let’s be intellectually honest. Both parties have their share of blame when it comes to the degradation of freedom. We, however, are not without hope. This is because the light of freedom will continue to burn in the hearts of those who seek a better life.
Let’s take the former slaves during the Civil War. Many, who were illiterate and poor, faced harsh conditions to escape to the North in search of freedom. Many of them didn’t know how to live without the lash of the slave master, yet they knew something, inherent in them, that there is more to life than living for the will of another. Those brave men and women who risked all for this idea. The idea of freedom. Today I often get discouraged looking at where this nation is going. It is frustrating to see how we are marching like sheep to the slaughter in the name of “safety and security.” Let’s be honest about this, both Democrats and Republicans have chipped away at our constitutional foundations of freedom. Do they do it with ill will? I don’t think so, however, that doesn’t change the fact that we are losing, every day, our freedoms in the name of security. Are you more safe today than you were 4 years ago? how about 8 years ago? The steps our government is taking is meant to make us secure. The freedoms we give up are supposed to make us more secure. However, are we really? I suggest we are not. As a result all we’ve done is give up more and more about what this nation is about.
As you contemplate the meaning of freedom re-read the Declaration of Independence this year. Take some time to see what our founders thought were problems during their time. Remarkably you will see that the complaints in the Declaration of Independence aren’t too different than those today. They were willing to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to ensure that it would be different for their children. Are we willing to do the same?
Until Next Time,
David A. Standridge