As I sat here this morning pondering the life we have and the land we live in, something dawned on me. Perhaps the better word is that a reality startled me. I have never considered it before, but the concept of living in a “free” nation is powerful. Our free nation however, has radically changed from what our forefathers established. Not that what we now have is bad. Our nation has done more good and brought more aid to suffering humanity than any other nation on planet earth. That being said, the concept of “freedom” and what that really means, hit me in a new and thought provoking way.
Our national anthem ends with “..land of the free and the home of the brave”. When that was written our society had a level of freedom we in this modern age cannot imagine. Sadly the loss of our freedom has been so gradual, so well planned for the “good” of the people that we have surrendered it without so much as a whimper, in order to be “safe”. Any people that exchanges true freedom for the illusion of safety, will end up just as we are. They will be smothered in regulations under the illusion of freedom.
Consider the following as you ponder the above statement. See if you also agree that what I have said is in fact the cold, hard, undeniable truth. In this land of freedom we call the United States of America the temperature in the hot water heater which I bought and installed in my own home is now regulated by the government. The height of every stair step, the width of every door, the amount of water that flows from my shower head is controlled by laws. How wide the sidewalks and roads must be outside my house is determined by a regulatory board.
Think of it, there are rules in place that now regulate how and when you can choose to die. There are laws for seatbelts and helmets, safety glasses and the speed of an airplane. There are laws that protect a green sea turtle and a snail darter from being killed, but other laws that allow us to kill our own children. There are regulations that prevent us from biblically spanking our children in order to train them to know right from wrong. However, a recent poll just stated that the US has more adults in its prison system than any other nation in the world. This is the land of the free?
The speed at which I drive my car and the kind of car I am allowed to drive is now fully under government control. The food on my table, the medication I take when I am sick and the size drink I can purchase at a restaurant has been decided for me, so I can be kept safe and healthy. How far apart the studs are in my house has a rule and how far apart cars can park from each other on the roadside has another rule. If I can have a fire in my own back yard is now regulated. When and where I can shoot my gun as well as what and when I can hunt is strictly enforced. An ever increasing law enforcement agency is now encouraging us to turn in those who don’t comply. Why? So we will all be safe!
How we educate our children, what kind of toilet we can purchase and what makes up the clothes we buy are all under rules and regulations. The material that makes up the furniture in every house and the paint on every building is under government supervision. The rules now tell us how many people can be in a building, what the angle must be for a ramp going into that building, how many fire extinguishers must be available and even how far apart outlets must be in order for that building to be deemed “safe” and “approved”.
Topping all this off are other rules. These say we must pay for yearly inspections of that building in order to keep it approved. We must pay for a yearly inspection of our vehicle to make sure it is safe. We must register our guns so the government can identify where they are which keeps us safe. We must register our children, by getting them a social security number, so they can be easily identified by the government and kept safe. Adding to this is the fact that we must pay for the people the government hires to continually check up on us to make sure we are complying with the rules.
When I consider the above and so much more, I have to ask myself a heartbreaking question, “we may be safe, but are we free any longer?” Is this the vision our ancestors had when they began this magnificent experiment we call America? In my heart the answer cried out and it was so clear that I could not deny it. We have indeed surrendered our freedom and now we feel “safe”. However, the cost has been more than we could ever have possibly imagined. There is no doubt in my mind that we are nothing more than a nation of slaves.
How did it happen? To begin with we laid aside common sense, accountability and personal consequences for bad decisions. We covered and coddled those who did wrong and held suspect the motives and success of those who walked in honor and integrity. We handed out trophies to every kid for any half-hearted effort they gave and thus demoralize the ones who tried and actually earned and deserved the trophy. We have been so intent on making people feel good and safe that we have robbed them of the exhilarating thrill of honest victory and the agonizing education found in a crushing defeat. We have stolen from them the truth of experiences that say they are living a normal, healthy life.
As for me, I jumped out of the boat years ago and I have lived my life as it was meant to be. At times I have been in over my head, but that taught me how to swim. I have abandoned the safety of a well-worn path and that taught me how to find my way to new and exciting adventures. I have had massive failures but I have also had stunning victories. I have risked the possibility of falling where no one would be there to help me up. However, in so doing I blazed a trail that set me and others free to really enjoy all this life has to offer. This is the life I must live and it is the life I hope others will hunger for.
Come step away from the shore of a safe life and swim out into the deep. Real life, the life you were designed to explore, is found when you are in it way over your head. If you ever begin to feel what it’s like to be free of the restraints of “safe” , you will never go back to the comfort of the shallows again!