What does this mean to you?
The US flag; the US constitution; and our freedom. What does this mean to you?
On the surface, this is an almost rhetorical question. Especially for us Americans. But it actually has a lot of meaning and truth in our present day and age. We live in what seems an unprecedented time. An information age, where violence, rapid technological development, and extreme thinking and ideas are more the norm than the exception. What does it all mean, and how does it fit into our conception of America?
I know for a fact that one of the key elements of being an American citizen is the basis of our country being founded on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These are living documents which matter, and make our country what it is. Not too long ago, I met a Russian woman on a train who told me that they too have a constitution in Russia, guaranteeing the individual citizen to basic rights — including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom to practice their religion. The main difference she explained, however, is that their freedoms are not enforced. In essence, their constitution is only a shell; it holds no substance.
What about ours? It does hold substance. I know as I practice freedom of assembly and freedom to practice religion frequently. And right now, I am exercising my right for the freedom of speech. But I wonder if this will continue? These freedoms, are they guaranteed because they are written in documents somewhere? I don’t think so. If they die, it will be apathy which kills them. It is like the story of the frog who sits in the water while the temperature is slowly heated until he boils and dies. Apathy is a slow-killing process, with the results thereof recognized only after it’s too late.
Is it too late? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I do know that is too late for me NOT to speak my truth–be that what it may. I know that apathy in me is no longer an option; it is a dying cancer. I am taking the treatment of love and action to combat the slow growing tumor. I am exercising my rights while I can.
I am not a pessimist, and I love my country. Both my father and my grandfather served in the US Military to protect and defend this country. Even though I did not serve in the military, I have served on the front lines of caring for and protecting our children, having dedicated a portion of my life to the care of young children. And now, I lay myself out for inspection, for the inspection of my ideas, because I care enough and love this country enough to want to see it last–at least to want to see the best parts of it last. I think our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) would agree that we are a nation of changing dynamics. In fact, the Bill of Rights came only after the Constitution because more change became necessary.
Perhaps it is time to change again. For the average American citizen to quite frankly ask him/herself, “what am I doing to protect the freedoms my country offers?”
I will end by saying that for me the solution is not political. It is spiritual. When I learn to change myself, I will change the world around me. It is the truth which will set us all free; that we are the agents of change...