Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
No comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Remembering Our Freedoms

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Americans often read our founding documents as if they pertained to another place and time, but the ideals enshrined therein are as true today as then, the struggles described as difficult. This year perhaps more than any before we would do well to use the opportunity of the anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence to remind ourselves of the freedoms, unique in all the world and modeled since, for which untold Americans over the past 231 years have fought or even given their lives.

The greatest of the freedoms we enjoy are those affirmed, after independence was won, in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

These freedoms are the true genius of America. The freedoms to speak freely, to practice any religion or none at all, and to have an independent and inquiring press are precious beyond measure. As such, we must guard them vigilantly, and defend them against legislated subversion, for history instructs us that once freedoms are restricted in the name of "protecting" freedom, they cannot be won back without a struggle.

As Americans, we are defined not by our military, our leaders, nor our culture. We’re defined by our ideals. The ideals on which this country was founded, and by which we live, are our profound inheritance. They are every generation’s to safeguard, or to squander.

As Americans, we hold foremost dear the ideal that people and the press should be free to speak of politics or religion without fear of government or private retribution. In fact, we should remind ourselves that they should be encouraged to do so. After all, democracy itself is an ideal, and it needs idealism. And criticism. And the arguments that follow.

A democracy invites and tolerates the clash of opinions, and understands its obligation to search for common ground. A democracy recognizes that there are intelligent people supporting each side of every issue. Every truth has an answering truth. There exists no issue facing us truly as simple as a choice between two absolutes. If we cannot have open discourse about the ideals by which we live, then we do not live in a democracy.


Upholding the ideal of democracy means never suppressing an opposing opinion. Upholding the ideal of democracy means never dissuading ourselves from speaking out, despite those who would criticize, ridicule, or otherwise attempt to prevent us from doing so. After all, contrary opinion is not treason; dissent is not weakness in the national resolve. Freedom dies when citizens follow leaders without question.

Democracy begins in conversation, and ends in silence. It is fueled by truth, and crippled by fear. By reminding ourselves this and every Fourth of July that the survival of our democracy and our ideals rests on our freedom to think and speak our minds, we honor our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and the countless Americans who have died to defend them.

 

www.strangeanimals.us

Todd Huffman is a pediatrician and writer living in Eugene, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to many newspapers and publications throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What Does Freedom Mean Anymore?

The Crisis of Meth

Poverty In America: A Republican Moral Failing

Stem Cells To Stay Locked Up

Rules Don't Apply To Me

Do Parents Matter?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments