Sunday, July 3, 2016

It’s  All About Freedom, and Don’t You Ever Forget It
"We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression- everywhere in the world.   The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – anywhere in the word.  The third is freedom from want – anywhere in the world.  The four is freedom  from fear – anywhere in the world.
"We, too, born to freedom and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom.  We, and all others who believe in it as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945),  Message to Congress  and later at Oxford University

I  shall never ever forget it.   On the fourth of July on the front porch of our home on Cape Cod,  my brother-law, James Witkins, prompted by a few beers and John Phillip Souza marching music,  would stand upright  and shout,  “It’s all about freedom, and don’t you ever forget it.”
Jim knew what he was shouting about.    He had fought under  General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge, and he was on his way to Japan to invade that country when America dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasacki.  From his ship in the Pacific,  he told his family, “ I’m not coming back from this one.”   But for Jim, a Lithuanian-American,  freedom was worth the price of World War II.
Jim was a deep believer in President Roosevelt’s words.  I wonder what Jim would say about today’s developments in the freedom fronts.  Here are my thoughts on what he might say.
·         Freedom of Speech and Expression -  Today, due to a phenomenon    known as “political correctness,”   we are having difficulties saying how we feel.   If we do not hue to the party line,  we are said to be “bigots” or “racists.”  Jim would say, “Tell it the way it is, not what others say it ought to be.”

·         Freedom of Religion -  Today,  it is hard to differentiate  religious  tolerance from racial discrimination because of fear that anything you say will smack of intolerance  and ostracizing another ract or religion.   Jim, a Catholic, would say,” Religious rules are made to be broken,  like not eating meat on Friday.”

·         Freedom from Want -  This too is tough to talk about .  If one points out there are limits to government  compassion because of  lack or taxpayer resources  and enough rich people to pay the compassion bill or to redistribute wealth from one class to another,  one is said to lack a heart.  Jim would say,” Life is tough.  Do what you can do with what you got. Spread around what’s left over.”

·         Freedom  from Fear -  In the latest poll,  84% of Americans say they worry about an ISIS attack on the homeland.    This is a real fear,   justified by events here and elsewhere.   But how?   How much money and how many American lives are we willing to spare to snuff out the enemy.  Jim would say, “As many as it takes.”

·         Freedom of Choice -   This is America, and in America you ought be able to make choices. Jim woud say,  “ You ought to have choices in how you spend your dollar,  where you go to church,  who  you pick  for you your doctor or health plan,   or  who you pick your president. “

·         Freedom from Bureaucracy -  In America,  we ought to have freedom  of self-rule,  freedom of  life-style,  freedom of not having our lives dictated by some overreaching bureaucracy,  except in the case of war.    Then we will have to do what is necessary to protect our way of life and our fellow citizens and our national sovereignty.   Jim would say,” Government can do only four things well.  It can wage war.   It  can protect the peace. It can issue the currency. And it can deliver the mail.”
And Jim would have added,  “It can continue to make this - this the land of freedom.”

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