WARNING: this is an edit-free zone!
Happy Independence Day!
My mind is on freedom today–even more so than usual. The book I’m focusing on currently, HER PERFECT LIFE, is about a POW who is rescued after six years and returns home to many, many changes.
It’s a hard book to write. I don’t cry easily, but I’ve sniffled and sobbed through the first 150 pages of this book because her plight is so easy to envision, and as I look around and see the news, I’m seeing it all through her eyes. The pain is remarkable.
Freedom isn’t free. Soldiers pay it with their lives and their blood. And then they’re rewarded by hearing idiotic and destructive comments like those from Dick Durbin and others who assert their rights to freedom of speech but haven’t made the first sacrifice to preserve it.
My mind today is on the two-party political system and how it’s hampered progress over the last twenty years. Politicians who are supposed to be serving the country are too busy getting reelected and fighting for their party to fight for America, much less Americans.
Supreme Court Justice Sandra O’Connor retired. And that same afternoon on the news, discussion wasn’t on who would be the best in the land to replace her, it was on the bloodbath that was coming regardless of whom the President recommended for the job. I saw it through my eyes and was disappointed. Business as usual in Washington. I’m sick of it. I saw that report through my POW’s eyes and was disgusted to the point of weeping and to asking when we Americans will stand up and say we won’t tolerate this anymore.
Americans have outgrown the two-party system and should fight to abolish it. It no longer best serves us. It hinders our progress. Even if those elected took an oath to do what was in the best interests of their country and not their party, they wouldn’t do it. History proves it. So Americans need to eliminate the temptation that is obviously too strong for mere men to resist.
The focus on reelections proves there should be term limits. When the Constitution was drafted, men served their country to do their duty, and then they went home. It never occurred to our forefathers that anyone would make a career of politics. There was wisdom in serving and going home, and there is little good in career politicians. When serving, the focus should be on service, not on reelections and power plays/players. Experience isn’t a challenge; it’s everywhere. The politicians aren’t going to change this. Americans should.
Focus has dwindled from 9/11 and passion has cooled. With it so has support for the war on terror. For or against the war, an understanding has to be accepted that includes recognition of how many attacks on the U.S. have been stopped since 9/11 due to Homeland Security and its efforts. Not hypothetical attacks, but real ones that were near misses. Whether we fight the war here or there in Iraq, we’re going to have to fight it. That’s a truth that we can’t shake. But the real bottom line for me is that you don’t put troops under fire and then yank support from them. So be for or against the war, but support the men and women fighting it. They’d rather be at home bitching about it, too, but they’re not. They breathe and they bleed and they do it for me and you.
A lot is on my mind today. For the most part, it’s anger. People are filled with apathy, so busy living their own lives that they just can’t spare a thought for those fighting for something bigger. They get bent over a tailgater, but not over a senator comparing soldiers to mass murderers. Do you know, out of millions of Americans a mere 140,000 objected to Durbin enough to email his sorry ass? Maybe to knock people out of their lethargy we need a shock.
What if our soldiers said, “No, uh-uh. I’m not sacrificing another thing. Not one more. Let them fight for themselves.” There’d be war on the streets in our towns. I wonder if those who object to the right to bear arms will fight? What will happen to them if they don’t? They say no man in a foxhole doesn’t know God. I wonder if at war on their streets, those who object to seeing the Commandments and the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage display will, too?
I guess I’m doing a lot of thinking about these things because of the book, but I believe I’d be thinking a good bit about them anyway. I was raised with a fundamental respect for the country. One that recognized that real men and women and families paid with real sacrifices for every single privilege Americans enjoy. Freedom isn’t free.
And the next time you bitch because you’re suffering some minor infraction or some trivial inconvenience, pause and think a minute about what others have suffered. Start with our soldiers. Then travel back a bit through time to our founding fathers. I’m not sure who the author of what follows was, but full credit is hereby acknowledged and given. In case you’ve forgotten what they sacrificed, here’s a reminder:
What happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free! I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can, please. It’s time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.”
I hope that today, you will think. You will not take anything for granted. You will be grateful, and you will remember….
c2005, Vicki Hinze