Grasshopper Soup: Freedom’s fate is in our hands
Special to the Sun
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; July 4 is the perfect day to sit by the lake and read the preamble to the Constitution of The United States and ask ourselves, what can I do today, and every day, to form a more perfect union, establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility? What can I do today, and every day, to protect my neighbor and make sure everyone around me is taken care of? What can I do today, and every day, to guarantee everyone’s freedom for all time?
The Constitution was written, and our system of government was established, to give us the best chance at remaining free. But ideas and good intentions change with the wind.
America may be the last caretaker of the most important ideas ever conceived in the history of mankind; the idea that every individual is a free and sovereign being, and that no other individual, state or government has the right to deny an individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, unless the individual commits a crime against those rights; and the idea that everyone is equally subject to the law, regardless of possession, wealth, civil, social and professional status or political office.
Freedom will flourish only to the extent that those ideas continue to be thought, taught and lived. Unfortunately, not everyone teaches the ideas of freedom and individual sovereignty. Not everyone appreciates those ideas, understands them and lives by them.
That means freedom will always come at a great cost. Someone must be willing to pay.
It is more important to recognize the sovereignty of the individual in others than it is to recognize it in ourselves. Any old, or young, fool can recognize his own self importance. The truly free live for others; not just a select group of others, EVERYBODY!
Ignoring the validity of other people’s individuality is an exercise in futility as long as freedom exists. Inspire, challenge and persuade people to conform to your agenda, but respect their freedom to refuse and live according to their own conscience.
Fireworks fizzle away in a moment. Our differences last forever.
If we can’t discuss our differences without getting all bent out of shape, screaming and yelling, throwing stones and getting emotionally upset over the realities of life, and lose all respect for the minds, and lives, of others, then we aren’t worthy of freedom.
If we can’t put aside our cultural, religious, political and racial prejudices, abandon divisive politics and work things out on our own, someone will gladly take power over us and#8220;for our own good,and#8221; and they may not care about freedom and individual sovereignty.
We must always question those in power, especially if we are the ones who voted them into power and we strongly believed in them and everything they said to get that power. Giving the powerful our unquestioning loyalty and obedience is to surrender our power.
It is the powerful, more than anyone else, who should be held responsible for, and be made most subject to, the law. The powerful should always be scrutinized and held strictly accountable to the people, to local laws and the Constitution of the United States.
Alexander Hamilton said it best in 1775, and#8220;The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal powerand#8221;.
Life is a risk. Nature does not ensure, or guarantee, freedom. Our freedom to choose in life will make or break us, depending on our own measure of common sense, intelligence, ambition, income, values, character and wisdom. Life will always be that way. We can control the population up to a point for the common good. Control it too much and we upset the balance of nature and smother the spark of freedom. And that’s no good.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.
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