Friday, July 4, 2014

Let Freedom Ring!

“America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.' You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”   Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in the movie An American President 

This is one of my favorite movie quotes.  Which may surprise those that know me well, considering it comes from what I consider a movie with a pretty liberal slant.  However, this exact sentiment is what I learned from my father, who was as conservative and patriotic as they come.  It says exactly what it means to be an American.  You have to stand up for what you believe in while respecting the views of those who believe what you abhor.  It’s tough.  Especially in the political climate we live in.  But instead of ranting and raving about that which you are opposed.  Use what you already have at your disposal.  Use wisely your voting power. 

America is advanced citizenship. 

Such a powerful statement and something we are sorely lacking in America today.  People don’t think for themselves anymore.  We live in a nation of lemmings.  People who listen to a 10 second sound bite, via some type of social media, and make decisions based solely on that.  We have people who vote for a person based only on the color of their skin or the political party they represent.  Both are wrong. 

We don’t value our voting privilege.  Because that is what it is in my mind.  A privilege.  A privilege that was bought and paid for by young men and women from the inception of this country to the present day.  They fought, bled and died for our privilege to vote.  Don’t you think that makes us responsible to use the privilege wisely ? 

I think it is incumbent upon us to be responsible care takers of this great nation.  We should cherish it as much as we cherish the lives that were lost defending and keeping it free.  We should vote responsibly.  Do the research.  Read about the candidates.  Research their back round, their values, and their vision for the country.   Voting is the most important tool we have as Americans, and as a group, we use it poorly.  It’s the most powerful tool we have to create change.   

So while you are enjoying the food, drink and fireworks this Independence Day, remember what the day is all about.  Remember that we are a free nation of free people with the right to choose their own leaders and live in that country without oppression.  And remember the price that was paid for the privilege to call yourself an American. 

I'll leave you with this quote as a little Independence Day food for thought:

"The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy."   ~Charles de Montesquieu~

Happy Independence Day my friends! 

Let Freedom Ring!!