Archive for freedom

The Three Parts of Freedom

Posted in My Government with tags , on December 15, 2008 by nighttwister

During the Presidential campaign, I made a comment on someone’s blog about why Sarah Palin garnered so much support by people from all walks of life. I’ve been wanting to expand on this for some time, but haven’t had the time do to so until now. That comment was,

Conservatives want to help those that can’t help themselves. Liberals want to help those that won’t help themselves.

Palin’s popularity shows that the majority of American people still support conservative values and freedom. This blog is not intended to be a rallying cry for Palin, but rather an introspective look at what Americans really want from their elected leaders, and why Republican candidates continue to fail. More importantly, I believe it can be a road map back to relevance and respect for our Party if we choose to follow it.

It should come as no surprise that Sarah Palin comes from the last frontier in the United States. Alaska is still a place where the independent, self-sufficient spirit still lives in our nation, at least to some degree. This spirit includes working hard for what you earn, and sharing with others that are less fortunate or have had a bad break. What really brought this to the forefront was her efforts to champion the cause of Down’s Syndrome children. For once, we found a politician that had genuine care about those that could not care for themselves, instead of just looking out for themselves our those that paid them to get there. But that’s the second part of freedom. I’ll get to that later.

The First Part of Freedom is Opportunity.

Opportunity is freedom. This simple truth has been proven countless times throughout out nation’s history. Now, there have certainly been times when opportunity has been denied to various groups of people during that time, but that only shows why we need to work towards making it available to everyone.

Opportunity offers the best avenue to success, but that avenue can also lead to failure. There are some that believe that the possibility of failure needs be eliminated if we care about people. The thing is, they go hand-in-hand. If you remove the possibility of failure, you also take away the possibility of long-term success.

Failure is one of the greatest teachers. Without it, we would be doomed to repeating our mistakes over and over again. It is also those failures that make our successes even more worthwhile. It also allows those around us to lend a helping hand in our time of need so we can get back on our feet again. This is what community is supposed to be about.

Our elected representatives have completely forgotten this over the past eight years. Democrats and Republicans alike have passed spending bill after spending bill, offering temporary help to their friends and supporters, while at the same time taking away everyone else’s opportunity at freedom. Rather than acknowledge the problem they’ve created, they only seek to exacerbate it by continuing to believe that they can prevent failure. This only delays the inevitable, and will hurt everyone even more. Almost everyone knows it, many acknowledge it, but it has become like a runaway train that no one seems to be able to stop.

The Second Part of Freedom is Responsibility.

Freedom isn’t free. It takes the commitment and sacrifice of every one of us to maintain it. Protecting freedom isn’t just for soldiers deployed halfway around the world, although they provide us with a wonderful example of what need to be doing here at home. Protecting freedom, means looking out for and helping those that are unable to help themselves.

How many of us complain about the public school system, but never offer to volunteer to help those that need a little extra guidance and support? Not every kid in town has the same wonderful, supportive parents that I’m sure you are to your children. The most treasured possession I have other than what my kids have given me is a bookmark I received from the parent of a special needs young girl that attended our summer vacation bible school a few years ago. As always seems to be the case, I know I received much more than she did in the exchange. For those of you that wonder why some of us are so adamantly pro-life, this is a primary reason why. We want to help those that are unable to help themselves. They have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness every bit as much as we do.

Our liberal representatives however, believe that these people are expendable. They want to give rights to terrorists who’s choices led to taking away the freedoms of so many, while at the same time doing everything they can to take away the rights of those that cannot obtain them for themselves. These people were given the responsibility to protect our rights, but seem to have forgotten that almost from the day they arrived in D.C. Reality has been turned in its head

The Third Part of Freedom is Accountability.

There are those that will tell you that all we need to do is trust the basic goodness of man. Most of us don’t really believe that though. It’s what we say to try to convince ourselves that we aren’t all that bad. Character is what we do when no one is watching. All too often we know that we fail ourselves and others when no one is looking.

Many of us that have come to this realization know that the only way we can do something about that is to make ourselves accountable to others. Knowing that we have someone to answer to when we’re alone causes us to think twice about what we’re doing.

For far too long now our representatives have failed to live up to their responsibilities. But who can blame them? We have failed to hold them accountable time, and time again. You can’t pick up a paper these days without reading about corruption at some level of government somewhere. Sure, we can point to a couple of recent instances where we tossed them out on their ear, but for those stories there are many, many more where we continue to send the same people back once again for expediency’s sake.

Perhaps its because we’ve forgotten that these people represent us. For those that have forgotten what that word means, here’s a handy definition.

To portray or depict; present the likeness of, as a picture does.

Perhaps we would do well to consider this definition of represent then next time we vote someone into a government position, whether a local school board member, or federal representative. For those that we’ve already sent, it is imperative that we hold these people accountable. Not only with their personal actions, but their votes. We can no longer stand idly by and let them give away our freedoms anymore. Technology offers us the ability to know what they’re doing and how they’re voting. Let’s use it for the good of ourselves and others.

Freedom. It’s difficult to obtain, easy to lose, and even more difficult to get back once we’ve lost it. Fight for it. For yourself, but more importantly for those that cannot fight for themselves.

Night Twister

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My Government I: The Construction of the Bill of Rights

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, My Government, politics, Second Amendment with tags , , , , on January 28, 2008 by Randy Streu

Some of you may recall a recent post here, called “What I Want In A Party,” in which I discussed what I percieve to be the role of government in these United States.  Over the next week or two, in between thoughts on interesting news tidbits and such, I’ll be exploring some of these ideas further in a series titled “My Government.”

This, as you may well have surmised, is to be the first of those posts.

… liberty is not ‘granted’ by government.  Freedom cannot be given; it can only be limited, regulated or taken.  Liberty is granted by God.  It is the natural state.  Laws, in a democracy – or Democratic Republic, as more accurately describes the US — are intended to govern human decency; to establish a means of living with one another and forming a society.  Such laws are enacted with the limited purpose of providing a means of restitution for doing harm to another’s life, liberty or property.”
(from “What I Want In A Party, written January 11)

The Constitution of the United States is a beautifully written document.  In giving a thorough reading, we see that every single word used is deliberately placed.  This is to avoid the confusion that comes from using vague language. 

The most-often quoted passages from the Constitution are, of course, the first nine amendments: The Bill of Rights.  It’s interesting to note here that no Bill of Rights was included in the original Constitution.  The argument over this led Virginia delegate George Mason to withdraw his signature from the document.  The issue, according to USConstitution.net, was that the orginal drafters felt no Bill was necessary.  The Constitution, they said, did not grant the Federal Government the right to abridge or inhibit our natural rights — no “Bill of Rights” being therefore necessary.

This reasoning I find as compelling as the wording of what ultimately became the Bill of Rights itself.  The founding fathers had no desire to allow the Federal Government to restrict a single one of what they believed to be “inalienable” rights, and so deemed it pointless (or, perhaps, counterproductive) to create a list of rights the Federal Government couldn’t restrict.  This is telling, especially if we indeed wish to understand the intentions of the drafters of the document.

Ultimately, as we see, a Bill of Rights was decided on, after all.  So now, we look not only to the intentions of the writers, but to the words they finally chose to convey the ideas they reluctantly agreed to put on paper. 

First off, in examining the Bill of Rights, we see it is constructed mostly in the negative.  “Congress shall make no law…,”  “…shall not be infringed,” “…shall not be violated.”  In other words, this is not so much a “Bill of Rights,” but a list of limits on the power of Government.  With this language, the writers continue in the same vein as the rest of our Founding documents: that rights are not granted, but can only be limited.  The “Bill of Rights” isn’t a list of what you and I can do; it’s a list of what the Federal Government cannot.  It is a recognition of the facts that, A,  liberty is our natural state of being, and, B, government interference with this natural state must be limited as much as possible, while still maintaining civilization.

Fundamentally, the Bill of Rights, like the rest of the Constitution, is about the Federal government and its relationship to the individual citizen of the United States.  The language is specific to the Federal government, as opposed to the states; and the document ultimately calls for all rights not given to the Fed to revert back to the individual States, or to the citizens.  This is important because the powers granted to the Federal government are extremely limited.  The language of the document shows that the signers intended for the Federal government to have limited interference with the everyday private lives of individuals — not to grant rights, but to avoid trampling them.

I will take a closer look at the individual amendments in a later series.  But first, in future installments of “My Government,” I will discuss in more detail how this first basic concept of Liberty is translated in the Government’s responsibility to the citizens of the US, in economics, civil and national defense, and the protection of human life.

-Streu-

Definitions of Hate: More on the “English Only” Controversy

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, immigration, News, politics with tags , , , , , , on December 17, 2007 by Randy Streu

A guy in Pennsylvania is being investigated by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations for having a sign in his restaurant.  Joe Vento, owner of Philly-based Geno’s Steaks posted a sign saying, “This is America.  When you order, speak English.”  Simply put, Vento didn’t want to hire somebody specific for every non-English language spoken throughout parts of the US.  English is the preferred language of the US, and the language spoken by most citizens.  But, he says, he was noticing a larger and larger amount of people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, order in English — and it was slowing down the productivity of his shop.  So, why does Joe have to defend himself before a city commission over this sign?

Apparently the signs, (two of them, barely larger than bumper stickers) offended some liberal sensativities and the commission saw this as being discriminitory.  Vento’s attorney argues the case should be dismissed, citing the “legitimate business purposes,” graciously allowed by Charlie Gonzales.  The attorney for the Commission (who, in spite of the commission’s claim that no judgement will be rendered for at least two months, seems to have his mind already made up) says this particular hearing is not about free expression, but about “intimidation,” suggesting that some peoples’ business is not wanted.

Another lib with no real connection to the situation, but plenty to say on the subject, testified at the hearing.  Camille Charles, who teaches sociology at UPenn, calls Vento’s signs a throwback to Jim Crow-era “Whites Only” signs.

Wouldn’t it be great of a connection to reality was a requirement to having any sort of special commission take you seriously? 

These signs are not about race.  They aren’t about intimidation.  They aren’t about giving “a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded,” as Charles suggests.  And, even if they were, I submit, it wouldn’t matter.  The great thing about America is, you have the right to be an asshole.  The market cleanses itself.  If this were a problem for people, they would stop spending money there.  But like most liberals, people don’t want to actually do anything about it.  They want the government to do it for them.

Back to the point, though.  These signs aren’t about any of those things.  The shopowner isn’t asking people to change something about themselves that they can’t change.  He’s asking them to order in English.  It’s his establishment, and he’d prefer if people spoke his language if they wanted service, rather than wasting his time speaking a language he doesn’t understand (and has not responsibility to).  I bet Joe would even be okay with somebody else doing the ordering for you.  Just so long as somebody speaks English.

The thing that really irks me about this situation — okay, everything irks me about this situation — another thing that bugs me is the protesters with the “No Hate in Our Town” signs.  Libs have invented this new definition of hate, and it’s being embraced by a wider and wider audience.  And it’s time for it to stop. 

According to libs, “hate” means, depending on the situation, “you disagree with me,” “you disagree with my lifestyle,” “you’re a Republican,” and now, “you want me to speak English.”  This is not hate.  It never was. 

What we’re looking at is, in fact, an assault on free thought.  We see it in “hate crime” legislation.  We see it in the ever-expanding definition of “hate.”  It’s thought control, riding around in the Trojan Horse of “good intentions.”  We think to ourselves, “You know, hate is bad.  People shouldn’t do that.”  This leads to, “yeah… I think if somebody commits a crime based on hatred, they ought to be punished more” (a dangerous road by itself, as I commented during my myspace days).  But then you have this whole definition of “hate” thing.  Once we outlaw hatred, and we then begin to soften the definition, where does it end?  Who gets to decide what constitutes “Hatred,” and what is “political speech”?  Who gets to decide who it’s okay to hate?

This should bother more people.

-Streu-