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Last week the Commercial Appeal asked, “What does the word freedom mean to me?” I had planned to submit a response but as I wrote, I realized that I had not truly answered the question. Maybe I didn’t know how to answer this question anymore. Too much has happened. Too many of those rights our ancestors died for are disappearing thanks to the efforts of our own politicians and appointed government officials. It seems that since 9/11 the meaning of freedom has changed. Initially, the events of 9/11 united the country. Party lines did not seem to matter, at least for a while. We understood the invasion of Afghanistan. Many of us even supported the invasion. However, when we invaded Iraq many of us questioned our leaders’ actions. We have always been taught that we live in a country that was founded on the premise that it is right and natural to question the actions of our leaders. Therefore, we question and branded unpatriotic.

Though I did not submit a response, I did read those that the Commercial Appeal chose to publish. It was interesting what most responders thought of as threats to our freedom. They spoke of intolerance, ignorance, the erosion of our rights by our own elected officials and political appointees, laziness, religious fundamentalism, extremists of all ilks, the manipulation of information, and apathy. Interesting.

So what should we do? Should we keep quiet and passively watch as our rights are taken, or do we decide that we will not go quietly?

Just remember, “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either”.


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