This week, with the death of our national hero John McCain and my brother Tony (Air Force Veteran) has caused me to think of a favorite quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being.”
In this last year, we have endured and heard much about freedoms from dissident groups all over our country. In celebrating our Independence daily, I am reflecting seriously about the promises and the pitfalls of Freedom and the men and women, like McCain and Tony, to whom we owe our freedoms.
What is freedom though? Freedom to have a say in government? Freedom to do what I want to do? Freedom to have no government? Freedom to take what other people are unable to keep me from getting? Freedom to travel where I want using whatever means I want? Freedom to act in a way that may be dangerous to myself or others? Freedom to take more for myself than others can have? Freedom to buy what I need? Freedom to use more than I need? Freedom to use for myself what others need? Freedom to blame? Freedom to enslave? Freedom to misrepresent the truth for my own ends? Freedom to hurt or kill?
Unless it is tied to personal responsibility and the concept of the brotherhood of mankind, Freedom can be dangerous. Is it possible to have freedom without responsibility? What is responsibility? To tell the truth. To keep informed. To make accurate judgments about information. To live in harmony with my neighbors. To understand other people on the plant. To accept the same freedoms for others that I covet for myself. To accept the equality and worth of all peoples. To bring no harm to other people. To leave this planet better than we found it.
Freedom that is synonymous with greed will destroy us as a society. But Freedom closely aligned with Responsibility can be our salvation.