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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Defining Freedom


If any of my blogs ever gets me in trouble, it will be my “musing” or third Saturday of the month blogs. So, before I go any further, let me say I do not support any political party nor will I bash either one.  I leave that to the political pundits on mass media to do.  As a writer and a philosopher, I look at larger picture.  I am an acolyte of Freedom.

This blog entry has been inspired by a BBC interview of a Syrian protester whose name I did not catch. For more than a year, the world has seen an massive upheaval of society in Africa and the Middle East, as people protest and rebel against their governments to create a more free society and nation for themselves. Some of these have successfully overthrown their former dictatorships while others have not been successful.  Blood has flowed and missteps have been made—all in the name of freedom.  But what is freedom?  What are these people fighting for? Do they know? 

In the BBC interview that I listened to, the Syrian protester said that they were fighting to have a government that would give them freedom. I believe that this idea is the seed of all such revolutions’ destruction. This idea was held by many who fought in revolutions for freedom around the world.  It is not any one culture that holds this idea. In fact, I fear, that my own culture has fallen into this same trap as I listen to my political leaders (all parties) and the political pundits who try to serve the rhetoric to the masses in other ways. Whatever government rises from the ashes of a revolution, no matter how long ago that revolution occurred, will never give it’s people freedom. I have seen many of my own people sit back and be lassie-faire with their freedom and power to vote and have left the control of their country in the hands of those who do not always have what is best for the people in their agenda.  Then I watched as these same people who have been lassie-faire with their freedom wonder why things are a mess. Freedom lies in the hands of the people and it is the people who give their government and those who run that government power!

There have been many words that have been written as a result of revolution, but I dare say in all of my readings, no matter how hard someone has tried, there has not been any document that has defined freedom any better than these that I share:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”—The United States Declaration of Independence.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”—The United States Constitution.

The United States, rightly or wrongly, may not be seen in the best light around the world at this time.  Yet, it is the freedom that we Americans have taken for granted as much as the water we drink that the masses who are under the heal of countries where freedom does not exist and liberty is not granted are shedding their most precious blood for. Those people do not want to be “Americans” nor have our products crammed down their throats. They want the idea that created us—that we forged and hammered and tempered in the fires of Liberty for ourselves, first when we broke from Brittan and then when we fought among ourselves in our own front yards during the Civil War.

The people who are now fighting for their freedom, those who have succeeded and now forge their new governments, and those who have had to return to the shadows to try again another day, will create a government and a nation for themselves. These will not, nor should they be, clones of the United States. But, I pray they understand as they heal their wounds or stand bravely in the face of overwhelming hostility that their freedom comes from themselves.  No government will ever grant that freedom.  No religion or religious instruction will grant that freedom. No secular institution will grant that freedom. Only their own bravery and dreams of a freer tomorrow will grant it. Only they who have dared to do the impossible will grant it.  Only they who are building a world for their children and their unborn descendents will grant that freedom. They must have control over their laws and their government or they will fall back under the oppressive heal that they have struggled against.

This is a lesson that we Americans should listen to again. Our nation is of the PEOPLE for the PEOPLE and by the PEOPLE! It is up to us to control our government and to cement our freedom—with each generation. The Democratic Party will not give you that freedom. The Republican Party will not give you that freedom. No church will give you that freedom. No news party will give you that freedom. No Union will give you that freedom. No one should ever tell you how to vote nor deprive you of the information that you need to vote wisely.

If you do not act, others will act for you—and then you have surrendered your right and the freedom to make the future what it should be. Then, I must ask you, what did all of our ancestors fight and die for? What did our immigrant ancestors who came to this shore—and speaking for my own heritage—with nothing in their pockets, scratch and fight to create if not your freedom?

The power of freedom is in your hands and in mine. No dictator or invader can ever hold a population imprisoned forever by force of arms. There is no greater need of the human soul than the need for freedom. Against the power of the people who strive to throw off the yoke of oppression--though it may take generations--no government or army can stand.

Once freedom has been won and secured by the people and protected by the laws and constitution that they create, the struggle against despotism does not end. The new guardians of freedom and security—the people—must remain vigilant and take action, knowing that there will always be those who will try to act against that freedom through political maneuvering, deception, claims on authority that they do not truly have, and even force of arms. Freedom valiantly won can be meanly lost by the inaction and unwillingness of a people to act in their greater interest while letting others who claim authority tell them what they must do.

The struggle for Freedom never ends and the People must always struggle to hold the ideas of who they are as a nation and the freedoms they have to their hearts or it will slip as sand between the fingers of unclenched fists.

To those who struggle to make a truly free world, may you not be forgotten.

To those who have freedom and liberty—remember.

 Thank you for reading and please visit www.davidalanlucas.com and www.thewriterslens.com. You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

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