Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom for you and me, but what about them?

This is the day we are supposed to think about and treasure our freedoms in America. Being born in the U.S.A. is not a given nor a right but an accident of time and place. Being citizens goes beyond having the freedom to be as stupid as the motorcylist who died several days ago protesting motorcyle helmets. Yes, he gets the latest Darwin award for amazing foolishness in not wearing his helmet, but it was his right, or so he believed, to forego practical and legal prohibitions.

Millions like him believe that our forefathers wanted us to be free to do whatever we wanted in and with our lives. So, with this abundant freedom, we can blog our opinions, fire off nasty notes and photos on line and on twitter, buy our children video games that feature disembowlment and torture (often of women), smoke despite every warning imaginable (seen those new pack designs?), do all sorts of drugs and therefore ramp up the drug cartel violence in Mexico, or choose to believe that all these really don't matter to the vast majority of free Americans.

But they do matter. We are not as free as many want to be or think they are, and that is probably a good thing. I am glad there are speed limits, traffic lights, checks and balances in our various governments (I just wish they worked better). I am happy to pay my share of taxes for the benefits that I and other Americans receive and need. Unlike some congressional leaders, I appreciate Medicare, Social Security, and ObamaCare. I also believe that there should be limits on how corporations make obscene profits while disregarding nature and most people.

What this short diatribe comes down to is this: we as Americans are not just takers. We have to be participants in whatever ways we can--voting, volunteering, caring. That is the price of freedom

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