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What does freedom mean to you?


Is this your idea of what freedom should be like in America?

A friend once told me “you would rather disagree with something or someone, than just go along. Can’t you just be agreeable for a change?” Uh, probably not, as I disagreed with his assessment. First off, I guard my tongue and a high percentage of the time I say exactly what I mean.  In other words, I am not prone to saying things I haven’t thought through. If I do, I usually have had an experience to shape an opinion instead of just “shooting off at the mouth.”

When the subject of freedom comes up especially concerning our government, I have a very simple take on it. I will obey the many laws and in exchange, I do not want the government interfering in my life. I fully expect the government to protect me from despots, criminals, and terrorists. I expect them to provide an environment stable enough that I can accomplish life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In a time of contagion, or extreme weather event, or some other catastrophe, I fully expect my government to reestablish law and order and provide aid if I need it. They simply must or looters and criminals will prey on us law-abiding citizens. I also believe that stealing or attacking my family is an extremely risky offering if I can prevent it. I call that freedom the second amendment.

Remember when George W. Bush (who I fully supported along with everyone else including Hillary and John Kerry) posed the heartfelt question about the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, “who wouldn’t want freedom?” What about this was inherently wrong? It sounds, well, sound. Sound in logic yes, but it wasn’t then and it isn’t now and I will explain.  When I heard it, the alarm bells went off in my head due to my witnessing the Vietnam War up close and personal.

On the surface the question is easy to answer. Everyone wants freedom. Everyone. However, when you talk about replacing a regime and turning it into our idea of freedom, it never works. Never – ever. By tearing down thousands of years of tradition and ideology and building an American version in its place, you destroy a culture and bastardize it. What is left in the wake of this “freedom” is alienation and that always leads to discord.

Didn’t we learn this when the Shah was deposed from Iran in 1979? He became so progressive in his thinking that he caused his country to take a leap backwards into extremism. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein fomented something even more diabolical and freedom restricting than his tyranny.  In some ways, many believe our country is heading towards this same end.  Too many broad changes too fast and the Internet bloggers are all screaming it.

The many new freedoms our lawmakers are pumping out are alienating a large part of our population even as I write this. Almost no one is happy about the state of affairs in our free country both here and abroad. I swear to God, it feels like the tumultuous 1960’s and anyone who remembers that, remembers how scary those last 7 years were of that decade.

Recently on Face book, I took my handsome face, removed all color from it and pasted a faint American flag across it, then made it my profile photo. It has been quite popular and I’ve had the honor to help others do it. My point is by removing my skin color and draping the American flag across it is to show that I am first an American. Skin color should not matter – creed should. 

After I did that, I copy and pasted the Pledge of Allegiance below my portrait. I don’t care who comes to this country if they do it the right way and embrace what this flag stands for. It makes us stronger. I take exception for Americans who ignorantly try to erase our history by marking themselves as dash-Americans and constantly stirring up trouble.

I am not gay and don’t understand it entirely, but if it doesn’t violate the law, then have at it.  I have enough of my own accountability to worry about.  I’ve never had a gay person try to “convert” me anyway and know a number of good folks who are gay.  On the Confederate flag issue, I figure the rest of the country can fist-fight over it.   I’m an American flag guy and a Texas flag second and like Davy Crockett told those folks, “...you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”

I may not want to do a lot of culturally based things, like paint my house hot pink, or run 24 inch wheels on my slammed SUV, but I support a citizens right to do it and if it doesn’t violate the law or some HOA rule, have at it.  Just give me my space, be considerate of your neighbors, love this country above others, and we can get along just fine – oh!  If an emergency happens, I will be the first to come to your aid.  Isn’t that what we freedom loving Americans do?
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Comments

Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham‎

Bert, this is 'broken record' Dandy Don. All I can say about your column in The Baytown Sun this morning is, "Well said", brother.
Anonymous said…
Great column this morning! LA
Anonymous said…
Melvin Roark

I agree with Dandy Don Cunningham, good article from both of you today, Bert Marshall.
Anonymous said…
Tim Wheeler: My right to like it, your right to write it, and everyone's right to read it!
Anonymous said…
Sarah Swain Cryer:
Simple good thinking...we'll stated Bert Marshall.
Anonymous said…
Mark Lamiell: Haven't seen it since I got back from Thailand 75. I've been pigeon holed by liberals in California for fourth years so I moved back to the South where you don't have to pay fifty dollars to go fishing.
Anonymous said…
Bert, I totally agree with you.
K C
Anonymous said…
Your article today was excellent! TT

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