Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July Thoughts

Here we are on the fourth of July -- in the US commonly called(though not absolutely accurately) Independence Day. Oh yes, we remember the revolutionary War and the proud signers of the Declaration of Independence, we wave our flags (Funny though, I didn't see near as many as we used to see on the 4th), picnic, and watch fireworks displays. But do we give any real thought to independence and freedom? I believe that none of us is truly free until we are all free and equal in the eyes of both laws and society. Guess what? That is not the case on this 230th anniversary of the original independence day. There is economic oppression. There is oppression based on sexual orientation -- heterosexual couples who choose to exercise their freedom to marry immediately become the beneficiaries of in excess of 1000 individual rights and privileges that are not available to couples who desire to marry but are prevented by law -- even same sex couples who have been together in committed relationship for decades. Freedom? Independence? Why is it that we don't see as many US flags flying today? Gay and lesbian folks know oppression. People who read about the government eavesdropping on phone calls or making searches of dubious legality know the specter of oppression. The elderly and poor who can't afford decent health care or living conditions know oppression -- either intentional oppression or oppression by complacency. More and more our people are feeling powerless -- the job market continues to shrink and the gas prices (and in turn the prices of everything else) continue to rise. Entire groups of people are denied basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and a burden of oppression is placed on them by well meaning politicians, religious groups and others. Thankfully, all is not as bleak as it may be. The flag that accompanies this post is a testimony to the fact that some of the oppressed are speaking out. But a few voices are not enough to stem the tide; freedom and independence take work. Freedom of speech comes only when we truly allow those with whom we disagree to state their cases fairly and honestly. Freedom of religion does not come from denying prayer in schools, but by allowing students to pray or not pray as they see fit. Freedom does not come by banning flag burning (A rather foolish and disrespectful act I think) but by allowing the free and equal exchange of ideas and information. Freedom comes though knowledge and through dedicated hard work to insure the dignity of every person who brings their uniqueness to our shores. When you think about it -- most of us (either the current generation or the past couple) came to this land to live in the freedoms that we profess today. Don't get me wrong -- I love the United States and I celebrate Independence Day, but I celebrate it by recognizing our imperfections and praying for the resolve to make a difference for the future. If we fall into the trap of thinking that we are perfect and all is well, then we are no longer free anyway. Make a difference -- stand for freedom

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our 4th of July was totally awesome. Enjoy your Wednesday!

Steve and Warren