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mustang84

Difficulties pale before freedom

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Here's a commentary piece that was in the Iowa State Daily yesterday I thought I'd share. It's a reminder that Americans take so much for granted that many others in less free societies would die for.

Anyone who has channel-surfed over to CNN or turned to the world section of the newspaper in the last couple of weeks has seen and read of the atrocities now occurring in Myanmar. We hear also of the massacre of innocents and of thousands starving in Darfur, of a North Korea where the military is regarded as the "supreme repository of power," nations where women as well as religious and ethnic minorities have few or no rights - the list goes on.

How quickly we forget and take for granted those things which define us as Americans - and for which we ought always to be thankful.

We forget the Tuesday after the first Monday in November - that sacred day when we, as Americans, exercise the rights that others in this world would give their lives for.

We argue, dispute and hate each other because of our race, creed or any of our myriad diversities - forgetting the killing fields of Srebrenica and the furnaces of Auschwitz.

We burn our own flag in protest - forgetting what those Stars and Stripes meant to so many who sought liberty and opportunity here in the generations before us.

We complain at length about our elected officials - forgetting all those nations where totalitarianism reigns, and disagreement is criminal.

We are disgusted by the content of some books and offended by the content of some editorials - forgetting the bonfires of books deemed dangerous to other regimes, and the muzzling of so many voices at the hands of censors.

We think nothing of going to church on Sunday, or Mass on Saturday night, or to the mosque, synagogue, other house of worship or no house of worship - forgetting the corners of the world where such attendance is either banned or compulsory.

We swear at road construction - forgetting places like Sudan, Ethiopia or Rwanda, where governments have neither the resources nor the will to improve their people's infrastructure.

We are horrified when an assailant is wounded by the police - forgetting all those regimes propped up by mass murder.

In short, we decry this country for what it is, or for what it has become - forgetting what it is not.

We Americans are by far the freest people to have ever walked the planet. We have no king, no fuhrer, emperor, commissar or premier - the very thought of such is and ought to be repulsive and sickening to us. No authority tells us what to say, how to vote, when and where to worship, what to wear, or how to parent, or can send our Congress home on a whim.

We may only have two political parties, but that is twice as many as China or Cuba. Nearly three-fourths of the Congress are Christians, but there are more minority religions - Muslims, Jews, Bhuddists - in our Congress than in the parliaments of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Libya, and many other nations.

Only 90 women currently serve in our Congress, but they serve without any extra qualifications - no headscarves are required here. In many parts of this world, women are neither allowed to serve in the legislatures, or to vote.

Americans ought to be thankful for their freedom. We as a people - despite the faults inherent in ourselves, our government and our institutions - are the most democratic, most free, most liberty-enjoying people on the face of the Earth. We have found our freedoms by no mere accident, and to maintain them requires "we the People" to be ever more vigilant and watchful. It is true that, from time to time, our systems malfunction, and our justice miscarries. What separates us from much of the world, however, is that these malfunctions and miscarriages are not endemic to our system.

Ours is a freedom guarded not by razor wire and concrete, but one attended to daily by ideas: democracy, freedoms of speech, religion and the press, the rights to arm ourselves, to be secure in our persons, to be tried in a court of law - ideas in which we fervently believe, and have, for generations, sent our sons and daughters, brothers, sisters and friends to defend. All these and more are guaranteed to us as to no other people in the world.

Appreciate it. Stand up for it. Be thankful for it. Be an American.

-Ryan Frederick is a senior in management from Orient.

http://media.www.iowastatedaily.com/media/...m-3017244.shtml

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Ugh.... false patriotism used to further the eroding of what we had in terms of freedoms.

Just because what other people are doing is worse doesn't mean we should lower the standards we set for ourselves.

I am disgusted by our actions at home and abroad simply because we're supposed to be better than that. We're supposed to be the good guys remember?

Edited by Oldsmoboi
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We forget the Tuesday after the first Monday in November - that sacred day when we, as Americans, exercise the rights that others in this world would give their lives for.
Unfortunately, what most people have forgotten is that our electorial process has now been rigged by companies with political agendas..... I don't just mean by buying votes. I mean wholesale manipulation of the vote counting process. Why more people aren't angry about this, I'll never know.
We argue, dispute and hate each other because of our race, creed or any of our myriad diversities - forgetting the killing fields of Srebrenica and the furnaces of Auschwitz.
I don't think anyone has forgotten those. Nor have we forgotten the Oklahoma City bombing or the L.A. Riots.
We burn our own flag in protest - forgetting what those Stars and Stripes meant to so many who sought liberty and opportunity here in the generations before us.
The Liberty that was sough includes the freedom to burn the flag in protest.
We complain at length about our elected officials - forgetting all those nations where totalitarianism reigns, and disagreement is criminal.

Have you watched Faux News in the past 8 years or so?

We are disgusted by the content of some books and offended by the content of some editorials - forgetting the bonfires of books deemed dangerous to other regimes, and the muzzling of so many voices at the hands of censors.
Yet the children's book series Harry Potter is the number one banned book in libraries across this "free" nation.

We think nothing of going to church on Sunday, or Mass on Saturday night, or to the mosque, synagogue, other house of worship or no house of worship - forgetting the corners of the world where such attendance is either banned or compulsory.

Yet we have some religions in this country who would like to impose their own laws on the rest of us. They have been getting dangerously close to doing so.

We swear at road construction - forgetting places like Sudan, Ethiopia or Rwanda, where governments have neither the resources nor the will to improve their people's infrastructure.
We should be swearing at the vast corruption involved in actually building much of this infrastructure. Senator Steven's bridge to nowhere? West Virginia having some of the finest highways in the country? Whatever happened to funding public infrastructure OTHER than highways? After world war 2 we rebuilt much of the German and French rail infrastructure while the Pennsylvania RR and New York Central RR, the largest rail networks in the world crumbled into ruin.

We are horrified when an assailant is wounded by the police - forgetting all those regimes propped up by mass murder.

I don't think anyone has forgotten any of those mass murders. We should be horrified of injustice regardless of scale. Further more, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

In short, we decry this country for what it is, or for what it has become - forgetting what it is not.
No one has illusions that it's "better in Burma". However that does not mean we should allow injustice at home. We MUST take our politicians to task for their wrong doings. We MUST stop erosions of our liberty. We MUST refuse to allow the circumvention of our Constitution.
We Americans are by far the freest people to have ever walked the planet. We have no king, no fuhrer, emperor, commissar or premier - the very thought of such is and ought to be repulsive and sickening to us. No authority tells us what to say, how to vote, when and where to worship, what to wear, or how to parent, or can send our Congress home on a whim.

We become a little less free every day by our acquiescence to our government's assault on liberty. We are at a time... the first time in our history, where there is a chance that only two families will have been in power for over 20 years.

Think about that for a second. There are people on this board... who can only remember a Bush or a Clinton being president....and now there is a likely chance that there will be another Clinton. If you think she'll give up any of the executive powers the current president has seized, you've got a big surprise in store.

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If anyone want to read a great book on freedom I have two recoomendations:

Maxine Greene - The Dialectic of Freedom

John Dewey - Democracy and Education

Just food for thought.

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From the debates in Michigan:

Mr. Matthews: Thank you.

Governor Romney, that raises the question, if you were president of the United States, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities?

Mr. Romney: You sit down with your attorneys and tell you want you have to do, but obviously the president of the United States has to do what's in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat. The president did that as he was planning on moving into Iraq and received the authorization of Congress...

Mr. Matthews: Did he need it?

Mr. Romney: You know, we're going to let the lawyers sort out what he needed to do and what he didn't need to do. But, certainly, what you want to do is to have the agreement of all the people -- leadership of our government as well as our friends around the world where those circumstances are available.

Sorry, wrong. Go directly to School House Rock, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

This guy is a front runner? This is why we're allowed to be disgusted. Here we have a leading Presidential candidate who doesn't even understand something covered in a PBS cartoon from 20 years ago.

In a moment of sanity that was viewed mostly as insanity:

Mr. Paul: Absolutely. This idea of going and talking to attorneys totally baffles me. Why don't we just open up the Constitution and read it? You're not allowed to go to war without a declaration of war.

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Burning the flag is not cool. It really pisses me of because it's as

disrespectful as a hobo pissing on the Washington Memorial.

That being said there's nothing MORE "American" or patriotic

than speaking your mind, even if (or especially if) you do not hold

the popular or majority opinion. Freedom is not free.

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