Wednesday, March 28, 2012

On Freedom

I've become increasingly perplexed by America's curious relationship with the concept of freedom. We believe we are absolutely entitled to it and that no-one can take it away and to even suggest we forfeit certain privileges is a violation of our constitutional rights. We've become so far removed from the events that created and sculpted the Constitution (not to mention the Bill of Rights) that we've forgotten the colossal sacrifices previous generations have had to make.

"Sacrifice" is another word that seems to have been co-opted by a specific group of people. "Sacrifice," especially when it relates to "freedom" now only applies to the men and women in our military. I in no way want to downplay the significant role the military has played in securing not only our freedom but the freedom of others around in the world. What men and women in the military (along with their families) have sacrificed these 300 years is incalculable. I recognize that and am humbled by it. But what of the civilian sacrifices? What about the men and women who have lived in this country who have had to sacrifice certain freedoms for the greater good of society? What about the minority groups who have had to live in the shadow of the majority, hoping to one day have the equal rights the majority of Americans enjoy? What about the sacrifices activists have had to make to ascertain equal liberty for all American citizens?

A sense of entitlement is infecting America. The sense of entitlement isn't specific to one party or one group of people. Everyone feels entitled to something. What's disturbing about the "entitlement" phase of our relationship to freedom is that it negates any sacrifice I might have to make but demands the sacrifice of others. Why do we feel so entitled? What have we done to earn or deserve this freedom? And if the majority are entitled to these freedoms, why isn't the minority entitled to such freedom?

You religion. Your guns. Your right to an abortion. Your right to marry whoever you choose. Your health. Your privacy. Your education. Your right to speak your mind. Your job. The money you earn. Your home. Your comfort. A trial with a jury made up of your peers in which you are innocent until proven guilty. The safety net of welfare.

What would you be willing to sacrifice for the freedom of others?

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