Free to be

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2007

If you hate this country, then you hate freedom.

You have the freedom to hate this country. Where else can you be so free?

I love my freedom and I love my country. We celebrate today our Independence Day. It is more than just another day off, another day to BBQ, another day to watch fireworks. It is a day we honor our forefathers who made a giant step towards creating this great country and even though we receive some bad press around the world, we are still envied for our way of life and for our freedom.

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Sure, we grumble about government issues, political battles and how to run this country amongst ourselves, white states and red states. Sure, we disagree and hopefully agree to disagree. It gets ugly, but just like a family; we fuss and then continue on the business of living.

We disagree on War, Abortion, Stem Cells, and American Idols. Some like the Sopranos ending and some are still seething. We are just a bunch of different folks in this country, but are free to be whoever we are.

When Congress does stupid stuff, we the people are free to vote them out and not blow them up. When you disagree with your President, you donate money to the other guy and vote him out. You shout your anger on the internet or talk radio and no one dies.

We are free to be ignored, criticized, berated and attacked via a media blitz, but we do not overthrow the government.

We are free to run naked through a NFL football game to promote our cause and free to serve our time in jail. We are free to put even our wealthiest daughters in prison for a short term. What a country!

Don’t think the ideal of freedom is weak because it has been known to tumble governments. The fall of the USSR was helped along by more than internal strife. Christianity was slipping within the borders and growing in popularity while Freedom radio was aggressively targeting the citizens with pop culture and democratic ideals.

I think Billy Joel took down the USSR and then David Hasslehoff broke down the walls of Germany. Don’t hassle the Hoff.

If we bombarded Iraqi insurgents, the remaining Taliban and other hotspots such as Iran and North Korea with great American pop music such as Christina Aguilera and Beyonce plus television shows like America’s Got Talent and Desperate Housewives those insurgents would be overwhelmed with what freedom has done for us. They might lay their weapons down! They may pick up Ipods and DirecTV and mind meld with us Americans. Victory.

This Fourth of July we celebrate courageous men who became traitors to England and our founding forefathers. Appropriately, they did the deed with somber and reverence and then once they signed what they thought was their death warrant, they turned to humor and candor. As Benjamin Harrison told Elbridge Gerry, “I will have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead.”

Robin Williams did a movie where America voted him President of the United States because he was a late-night comedian with great punch lines. Do you think if our candidates did stand up, we might have more interest? Possibly.

As for the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, their quest was for freedom which was something different from the world they lived in. All the other countries at that time had kings and emperors to rule. Who ever heard of allowing the people to decide? After all, there were around three million residences of the coastal colonies that came from all trades, economic standing and cultures. How do you get the mixing pot to agree?

The same as we do today. The majority rules.

Hector St. John Crevecoeur, a French mapmaker said, “Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men whose labors and posterity will one day cause great change in the world.”

King George didn’t get it! The colonists had moved across the great pond to govern their own lives, for freedom. Once tasted, they could not go back. As King George squeezed harder, the power of freedom grew.

Our George, as in Dubya, is opposite of King George. He believes the power of freedom in itself is strong enough to break the suppression of people in other parts of the world. In Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, he has set the spark of freedom to the people.

Will it work? Can the opportunity for freedom break the chains of oppression and fear? Only time will tell and patience on our part, too. I have seen the face of hope in the eyes of women now able to go to a beauty parlor. A freshly shampooed woman is a powerful force!

I have seen women able to be educated. I have seen Afghanistan Idol……pop culture is beating down tyranny. Yes, life is still hard and still dangerous, but our revolutionary war took eight long years to conclude and it was no picnic!

Is it worth fighting for…. this freedom? Just ask all those who serve our country in the military and those veteran’s who gave of their time, limbs, who lost comrades, family members for this thing called freedom.

With so much controversy over the “War” and everyone on all sides with their own ideals of what our country should do, we must realize that for all the bad played across the airways, there has been an extremely and overwhelmingly amount of good done in Iraq and Afghanistan. We as a country must never forget that, nor ignore the victories we have won. You have to look at the balance, and for all the bad you see, there is a greater amount of good.

We are not fighting a government anymore, but an ideal. How better to defeat this ideal of violent religious idealism than using our own idealism…… freedom. When placed with the choice of the two, which will the people choose? Hiding in fear with bad hair or the freedom to wear baggy pants four sizes too big? Being beat for accidentally showing your ankle or the freedom of reading yet another Harry Potter book?

As we celebrate with fireworks and hope that we see the ones in the air and not the ones blowing up buildings, due to the whispers of terrorists who threaten us daily. Let us enjoy our freedom.

Great men have spoken about the power of freedom and I leave you on this Independence Day celebration with their wise words.

As for me, I will be eating some grilled something, sweating in our great Southern heat, dipping my slightly overweight body in something wet and cool, and feeling extremely free and proud to live my life as I want. Although, I want a bigger and better everything….it is the American way!!

Albert Einstein said, “Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”

“Freedom is the last, best hope of earth.” Abraham Lincoln.

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.” Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don’t agree with.” Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Freedom isn’t free.