Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Celebrating freedom

Yeah, yeah, I know: in some areas especially, it's under assault. (I'm looking at you, Mayor Bloomberg.)

But still, we have an awful lot of freedom in this nation (and at this point in time) that people in other places and at other times do not have.

I particularly think of women in Muslim-dominated countries, as I am a woman myself. Here in America, I enjoy the freedom of being employed, owning my own house, owning and driving my own car, being able to go shopping without a man to 'chaperone' me. I can dress however I want provided I conform to minimal laws concerning not disturbing the peace by being extremely immodest. I will not be arrested for wearing a short skirt or a low-cut top.

I also have freedom of conscience. I can go to whatever house of worship best fits my conception of God, or I can choose to go to none at all. There is no state religion (no matter what some may claim) that is compelling me to worship in a particular way or even worship at all. I can give money to any religious group I believe in, or not give money to any at all.

I do not have to show papers if I cross a state border. I do not have to have proof of why I am traveling somewhere and whether that travel is "essential." I can go alone if I choose, or I can take along any person I wish. If I am stopped on the street and asked to show identification, I can demand to be told why.

I can spend my take-home pay however I choose. No one will question me if I buy loads of books and only buy a new car when my old one is worn out. No one will question me over WHICH books I buy. And while there are plenty busybodies who would presume to tell me what foods I should or should not buy, or what entertainment I should or should not engage in, there still are no laws allowing them to enforce that - or preventing me from telling them to go pound sand.

(I can still find incandescent bulbs in some stores and buy them.)

If I disagree with the government and what it's doing, I can write about it here. No one from the government can come and arrest me for that. Likewise, if a group of people and I decided that there was something wrong, we could go and stand in a public place and talk about it, and no one could arrest us for that. Every four years I get to vote for who I think makes the best president (well, of the choices we have...) and every two years I get to vote for representatives. And I get to vote on a variety of "state questions" as well. Had I lived as a woman one hundred years ago in this nation, I could not do that.

Regardless of what some people say, I do not fear the police breaking down my door in the middle of the night. And there are places in the world where that was a real possibility for some people. (Probably still is, in some parts of the world).

If I were accused of a crime, I would have a right to a 'speedy' trial. And the right to have my case heard by and decided upon by twelve other citizens. And I would have the right to have a professional to represent me and present my case.

Sure, there are problems in our nation. Some of the problems are rooted in the people we have chosen in the past number of years as our representatives; some of the problems may be that a lot of us seem to want to get something for nothing. And yet, despite those problems, we still have a lot of greatness and freedom beyond what many countries can even dream of.

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