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The Responsibility of Freedom

Happy 4th of July, everyone.

Today, I just want get on my soapbox for a few minutes - please humor me.  One of the things that I have been been very unhappy to see in the last few decades is the decline of personal responsibility.  When I say personal responsibility, I am talking about taking ownership of your life and what happens in it.   This was the norm up until the second world war and even through the fifties.   It used to be you were held accountable for everything you did, regardless of the circumstances.   People used to have a sense of shame.  Somehow that changed radically, to the point where my husband and I have been thanked because we took our son out of a restaurant when he threw a temper tantrum.  Apparently it is very uncommon not to subject your fellow diners to your child's misbehavior.  I was stunned the first time it happened (when someone thanked us - not at my son throwing a temper tantrum).  I call it the Jerry Springer generation - I'm sure I didn't make that one up. 

I believe this directly relates to what happening in this country - we take our freedom and resources for granted.  We live in one of the richest countries in the world and we don't take care of it, as if it's going to last forever and requires no maintenance or work. We're spoiled rotten.  If you don't take care of your lawn by mowing, watering and weeding it; all you end up with is weeds.  I believe that's where we're headed with the country if we don't start taking care.  

The first step is to become educated about your government and how it works.   That includes the constitution and basic civics. I have absolutely cringed at the things some of my associates have said at times - and there's no way I can politely correct such absymal ignorance of what our constitution says.  The associates I'm talking about are well-off too - they had this stuff in school.  If you don't make an effort to become somewhat educated and remain that way - and it's as simple as what most of us should have learned in grade school and high school - you are an easy target of those on all sides who will take advantage of your ignorance to persuade you to things that are not only not in your best interest, but actually harmful to you in the long run. 

If you don't participate at all, you leave it up to special interests to influence the decisions that affect us.  That becomes government for the minority at the expense of the majority and other minorities.  It becomes the government of those that have the resources to make the most noise.  I think we've been headed down that road for quite a while now.   I believe democracies only work well if citizens participate.

Then you need to take the responsibility to vote, and vote regularly.  Make sure that you become educated on the issues.  There are many resources both liberal and conservative to gain a good understanding of what the positions of candidates and issues are.  Some are the League of Women Voters website (just google it), the Christian Science Monitor for international issues, NPR, CNN, many papers; local, state, and federal websites; and many very good independent websites such as factcheck.org.  This is hardly the tip of the iceberg.  Choose several resources and check them against each other.  It really doesn't take too long.

I believe we have a responsibility to take an active part in our government - it is a freedom that is rare through out the world and we should not take it for granted.

Okay, I'm done.  Have a great weekend.

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