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To Be Free


Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said it better than I ever could with these words... "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." 
 
 To often in today's world we see the arrogance of people affirming THEIR rights and defending THEIR freedoms while having no issue of conscience in ignoring or denying the rights and freedoms of others.  I think it is the saddest thing of all when people wave the banner of freedom but mean only their freedom, and most certainly not the rights and freedom of "those people" who are different from themselves. 
 
I believe that my rights, and the freedoms that have been given to me, end when they interfere with the freedoms and rights of another.  A very simplified example would be the debates in not too distant past over the freedom of smokers to smoke where they please versus the freedom of others to breathe clean air.  Yes, smokers have the right to smoke it they so choose, but they do not have the right to pollute the air and endanger the health of others around them. 
 
If we say that we stand for freedom, then we have to believe in our hearts the right of all people to have the same freedom we have.  We cannot say it's good for us but not for them, we cannot treat them differently than we believe we have the right to be treated. 
 
I still hold out hope that one day we might live in a world where freedom is universal, and more importantly that the recognition of all people everywhere as members of our extended family becomes a way of life.  When that day comes, it will be inconceivable to us that someone should be constrained while we are allowed to live free.  It's an all or nothing way of believing, and it's something I wish I could live to see.
 
I'm linking up with In Other Words over at Patricia's Place
where the writing prompt was the following quotation:
"Individuals entering society must give up
a share of liberty to preserve the rest ." 
 -  George Washington


8 comments:

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    1. This is something I feel pretty strongly about, Gail. I guess that comes across! :-)

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  2. The Mandela quote is perfect and to the point as is the Holmes. Without respect freedom becomes ruthless and dangerous. You have gotten me to thinking again which I like but I gotta turn my brain off now so I can get some sleep.

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    1. You are so right, Patricia, freedom for a few is bout to result in suffering for many. It is scary what a little power can do to a person. Now if we could just learn to channel our power for the good and for the brotherhood of all creation!

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  3. Yes, exactly. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

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    1. Agreed, Mimi, it can't be about THEM and US. We need to start thinking "WE" and to teach our children that too!

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  4. So true!! Well said. For me, it's pretty simple: God gave us Free Will and since He has not withdrawn that gift: neither shall I from anyone. Even if it means they stand in direct opposition to all the beliefs I hold sacred. That's their right, as much as my own.

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    1. I agree that we have all been given the right to choose for our lives, Rory. Unfortunately, that can take us down some pretty rough roads if we don't choose wisely. We also have to take into account to some extent how our choices are going to affect the others around us.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)