With Independence Day coming up this week, I thought I’d write a serious blog for a change. Shock! I know.
July 4, 1776, a new nation is born - America! At least that was the official start, though the process began long before that date, hundreds of years, in fact. But, I’m sure everyone is well aware of the history of the United States of America, so that’s not what this blog is about. Instead, it’s about the idea that spawned the birth of this nation. That idea or concept was freedom: religious, as well as political freedom, and a yearning for that freedom. But what exactly does that mean? What is freedom?
Freedom is more than a list of enumerated rights, such as free speech, the right to assembly, the right of a free press, or the right to keep and bear arms. Freedom is more than the ability to choose where we live, where we work, and to lead the life we decide. That’s what I was taught in school, but the meaning of freedom goes much deeper. Those things are a result of freedom, not the definition.
One of the most basic definitions of freedom is the condition that exists when the people are in control. Freedom is when the people tell the government what is allowed, not the other way around. Freedom is when the citizens do not live in fear of what a corrupt government can do. Freedom means not being subjected to a tyrannical and oppressive form of government. It means our lives are not ruled by thousands of regulations aimed at creating criminals out of ordinary citizens.
Freedom also means we have the reasonable expectation that our government will not spy on us, that it will not invade our privacy, and that it will not conduct unwarranted search and seizures. It is the ability to live life unworried. Freedom means the right to be left alone!
In recent years, it seems the American government has lost sight of the meaning freedom. But that doesn’t mean our freedom has gone away. We still have the right to voice our opinion, elect our leaders, to change our leaders or our whole governmental system if necessary. Freedom isn’t free, as the saying goes, but is worth fighting for.
That’s what freedom means to me. No, I’m not a big political figure. I’m not a guy with any influence at all. I’m just a flag-waving, patriotic nephew of my Uncle Sam. And I’m Proud to be an American! Happy Fourth of July! (Independence Day for those of you who are sensitive to that sort of thing).