1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Freedom: The state or condition of being free: the condition of enjoying civil liberty. Liberty from bondage or slavery.
Dan Duff

Janis Joplin sang back in the sixties that freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose. You hear civil rights leaders and politicians decrying that freedom is needed in order to have a democracy. While all these people are right in the way they express freedom they are usually wrong in the true sense of the word.

 We need freedom for one purpose and that purpose is to make choices. The choices we make in our daily lives defines freedom not only for ourselves, but for all those whom we touch or have authority over. The captains of Enron made freedom decisions when they decided to cook the books in order for them to enrich themselves. I am sure even the cruelest of them had a small glint of consciences of the results of their scheme as it unfolded, but in their wake, they gave thousands of people no choice in what happened to their money. The chiefs at Enron had the freedom to make the decisions, but not at the expense of so many. The results are that some of those chiefs are going to prison. The fact remains however the people who lost their shirt at Enron still must go without a shirt. 

We have young men today who make the freedom choice of joining a military unit. Some of these young men are paying the supreme sacrifice in the middle east. I am sure drill sergeants and cadre are pounding it into their heads from the first day of training the possibility of their death if when they go off to Iraq or Afghanistan, but they still sign up and they still train and serve and they still live with the mantle of death hanging over them every day of their military career.

Politicians make freedom choices when they make campaign promises. Most of them know they have no intention of keeping any of them and so they make the freedom choice of lying to us. You can always tell when a politician is lying...... their lips are moving.

Con artists, crooks and bad guys make freedom choices every day. They use the system of freedom trust to make their way into the situation and then use that same freedom system to try to get out of trouble with lawyers bending and usurping the law to fit the purpose of getting their clients off.

We are being asked by the people in Washington to give up or set aside some of our freedom in order to get the terrorist thing under control. I would gladly do that if I thought all the other avenues of getting these terrorists and their backers out of the country. I would gladly do that if I could be assured by the crowd in Washington that the laws and institutions already on the books are going about their business to keep these people out. I would be willing to do whatever it took to keep one American from dying at the hands of these cowards who only fight women and children. The sad truth is no branch of government today are enforcing the laws already on the books. There is no agency bringing the full power of their office to bear on the problems of terrorism.

If we cannot keep migrant farm workers from coming across the southern border with Mexico by the thousands, we wonít keep a professional terrorist out. If we have 10 million people in this country illegally because the government agencies who are supposed to keep a check on them cannot or will not employ common sense tactics to keep track of aliens, if our own state department fight other agencies who would expel unwanted people in this country, then what changes would taking what few freedom choices I now have from me, make a difference in stemming the terrorists tide coming into the country and doing what they please.

I feel a lot of this blame falls at our feet. The citizens of this great nation have given up most of their dignity and self respect. They have given up freedoms already because politicians and judges have deemed it necessary to give preferential treatment to certain classes and races of people. Who for the promise of oil will look the other way when oil rich countries send mass murderers to our shores. We must take back what precious freedoms we have already given up. We must dredge the halls of congress and weed out the cheap crooked politicians who use the power of their office for their own corrupt agendas. Before we give up one more precious freedom we must demand our government use the laws we have already and deny access to this great nation by those who would steal entry into it.

The 4th of July is now past. The flags and buntings and grandstands are put away for another year. The marching bands have cubby holed John Philip Sousaís march music until football season. The great feelings of freedom and cheering of the flags ebbed and died for most people right after the last fireworks display. For most people it will now be business as usual until next year. Like the decorations of Christmas, patriotism is just for a season. It is not something we think about or care about any other time of the year.

I wonder what the 57 men who signed the Declaration of Independence would think of the way we treat our freedom today. 57 men who gave all they had, some even their lives and the life of their loved ones. They gave their money, their lands and houses, their solemn oath that nothing would deter them from this thing called freedom. Yes it is the government who should be ever vigil, ever watchful, ever checking that all is as it should be. But, donít forget my friend, we are the government.