The recent election—still in dispute—was more than a question of differing ideologies, promises, or achievements. The bigger issue which America should be pondering is the question of “free” or “freedom.” Do we want free government provisions or should we be more interested—whatever the personal cost— in freedom.
Is there no conflict between these? I am officially “old” by some standards and wouldn’t mind my medical expenses, including drugs, being totally free. I wouldn’t mind a government check to liquidate my mortgage. I wouldn’t mind waiving property taxes on my home. ..and on and on I could go, but are their attached conditions that would give pause? I think I could get free dental but my dentist, whose office is within walking distance, is not on the list of dentists that provide this. My cancer treatment in Canada would have cost me nothing—as a canadian—but my oncologist informed me that I would be waiting months more before it would begin. (All tests show my cancer in regression.)
To be honest with ourselves, we need to define “freedom” before a comparison with “free” can be made. That definition is well stated in the U.S. Constitution. If this document is altered, even by amendment, or ignored or contradicted by statutory law, or in any way revisited or rewritten, the definition of freedom is changed. Freedom is defined in the U.S. Constitution. I see it primarily in a few lines—and nuanced in the remaining parts—of this document for which much blood has been shed, not to safeguard our democracy but to protect our freedom.
Consider: The U.S. Constitution describes a federated form of government which was and remains an agreement among, now, 50 independent states—all having an equal say in its construction. It’s uniqueness on the world stage is founded on three principle provisions:
- As a federation of states:
- the provisions of the 10th and 14th amendments,
- a Senate of 2 elected office holders from each state, and
- the electoral college. Even the smallest state is equally represented.
- The First amendment which enumerates 5 freedoms:
- Freedom of religion. The government shall make no laws regulating the establishment of religion.
- Freedom of the press
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of assembly and
- Freedom to complain about the government or the right of petition to redress grievances without reprisal.
- And, most importantly 3 separate but equal branches of the federal government:
- The Executive, the President (One person, not an oligarchy or a hegemony) at the helm whose direction defines the direction for the country under their administration. They do not make laws, they implement and enforce them through their leadership.
- The Legislature makes the laws and approves a budget. And what must not be politically controlled:
- A Judiciary as a separate nonpartisan branch of government to interpret both constitutional and statutory law.
Freedom best thrives in a free market society in which we contribute to and participate in our citizenship. If we want “free,” consider carefully the cost to our “freedom” which President Reagan once warned …is never more than one generation away from extinction.”