Checking the Heartbeat of Freedom

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No fireworks allowed
Glynn Wilson
Another small freedom gone…

Under the Microscope
by Glynn Wilson

Today on the Fourth of July, Independence Day in the US of A, it’s a good day to check up on the heartbeat freedom.

In addition to the pending fight over the spying bill from Bush and some members of Congress guaranteed to produce some fireworks next week – along with immunity from lawsuits for the telecom giants – it’s always fun to point out some contradictions in the form of actions from people who claim to be the most conservative in defense of freedom.

Right here in my backyard, the new city of Center Point was formed a few years ago basically by conservative, religious White folks in order to preserve something out of this White Flight suburb besides half-empty neighborhoods due to the mortgage crisis. Buying and preserving the area’s interesting rock houses is a worthy goal, as is building sidewalks and bike trails and putting out fires.

But if the goal is not freedom from federal, state and county government regulations and taxes – so you can do anything you damn well please in your yard and home – then what good is it?

But right there on the sign and symbol of this new municipality is a demand in the form of an order, backed up by a government ordinance. It’s an exact re-write of the state law, according to the mayor, Tom Henderson, who was about to zip off in his muni-SUV as the Thursday Farmer’s Market was just getting underway. (I had to get some of that watermelon that works like Viagra : )

Watermelon Yields Viagra-Like Effects

I asked the mayor about it – the fireworks ban, not the Viagra water melon : )

He said, paternally of course, “Some people need to be told what to do.”

Government as nanny, in other words.

Now I understand fireworks can cause forest fires and other scary things to happen, but I asked why the more dangerous practice of firing guns in the air was not targeted.

“Oh, it is,” the mayor said. “We don’t allow that either.”

While some people will do it anyway, perhaps it is not so controversial to go after firecrackers. Going after guns on the sign might be seen as an affront to the Second Amendment, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed by allowing handguns in DC.

If they can ban fireworks and firing guns, except in provable self defense, what’s next?

Oh, and yes, Center Point is a fully equipped member of the Google Earth-Virtual Alabama spying club, although they mostly use it for maps and such – perhaps looking to expand their little empire through annexations. The sound software now being used by the city of Birmingham to hear gunshots and pin point their location does NOT reach all the way to Center Point, the mayor said, although he got a definite gleam in his eyes when I mentioned it – so it’s just a matter of time…

Soon they will become ambitious and join the property tax club too, adding a penny here and a dollar there. Sales taxes may need to go up too, you know, for more police cars and officers on the road – to write more tickets, take more of your money, and even lock more people up in the privatized jails for profit.

Then they will vote themselves pay raises and perks, and take more control over your property, and gather more information about you!

Will they be more responsible than the Bush administration or the Riley administration? Or does the danger lie in the growing number of people at all levels with the access to all this private information about us?

The Washington Post is reporting that a State Department audit shows more and more passport snooping.

Is that what we want to be focused on at a time when we should take some time off and reflect on how we came to hold this freedom – and how we let it slip away?

In searching for other commentators to wax eloquent on such an occasion, I was drawn to a column by George Will in the Washington Post. He’s supposed to be one of the nation’s most imminent conservative intellectuals, if that’s not a contradiction in terms : )

He quibbles over the day we should celebrate the Fourth and why, rather than focusing on the state of our freedom today. He must be appalled, privately, if he is a true conservative.

What was voted on July 2 was, however, really decided on July 1, Will writes, wonderig why we celebrate on the Fourth. But on June 28, Congress considered Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration, so was the die then cast? Or was it cast on June 10, when Congress voted that “a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration”? The Declaration was first actually declared – read aloud to a crowd (at the State House, now Independence Hall) – on July 8.

So what. The federal government established the holiday on the Fourth, so drink up, dude…

Will goes on to give us this little nugget from the past about what freedom MIGHT mean, to the guy who wrote the Declaration.

Writing shortly before his death, Jefferson affirmed his belief that “the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” Those words were as stirring then as they had been when one of Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers declared from the scaffold, “I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.”

I’m quite sure I wasn’t born to be ridden by some rich guy – by a mayor or a governor or the president of the United F___ing States.

No, I won’t be shooting fireworks – or a gun – on this day. I will be content with the bursts over Vulcan from a Southside party, with a live band, of course.

But I will wonder over a Yuengling or two if it even dawns on any of the folks who believe they stand for freedom, yet spend a good bit of their time looking for new and creative ways to take it away from us?

Once it’s gone, it is a hard thing to win back. A bloody hard thing…

© 2008 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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