Hi I'm Starla and I'm a Political Junkie. I confess, my eyes and ears have been glued to the news broadcasts and media outlets this election year. This passion and interest has thrust me in the middle of quite a few lively debates and brought out my feisty side without a doubt! This mental "jousting" of sorts has proven to be a positive catalyst for necessary conversation and thought - something that has been sorely lacking in the world of social media where the most trivial and mundane occurrences go viral while serious issues are ignored. Don't get me wrong, I love the joy that a Chewbacca mask brings with moments of laughter to escape the seriousness of life, but I also want to know something more than what an athlete eats for breakfast or what kind of tattoo a celebrity has.
There is so much going on in our world and it seems everything is topsy-turvy; good in someways and devastating in others. Seeing terrorist attacks around the globe almost weekly now is a "not so good" upheaval in our world. However, seeing people become interested in world events and in diplomatic and political matters again is encouraging and a positive shake up. When things are "rocking along," it becomes easy to be lulled to sleep concerning life, liberty, and the many issues around us. Sadly it often takes tragedy or conflict to stir us up. We swim around like the frog in a pot of water feeling safe, then before we know it the heat is turned up! The good news in the midst of so much bad news is that people are waking up! The old movie "Network" perfectly portrays the attitude and mindset of people not just in America but all over the world concerning government overreach, political injustice and oppression of the citizens. Remember the line in the movie? "We're mad as 'hell' and we're not going to take it anymore!" This "righteous indignation" has renewed pride in country, tradition, values and freedoms catching the elite class by total surprise. The Brexit in the UK is a shining example of the movement among "we the people." Seeing this kind of patriotism brings hope!
Many of you will recognize the feature picture at the top of the blog. It is from the first movie "Independence Day." What seemed like the "end" brought about a new beginning when the people of the world came together not to fight opinion, policy or even tyranny, but to fight for survival! Art imitates life doesn't it?
The night of the Brexit vote, I stayed up through the night waiting for the results. Evidently many in the UK did not as they were shocked when it turned around at the last hour. The next morning the leader of the Brexit movement stated that they were celebrating their "Independence Day." It was such irony that the very ones whom Americans celebrate an Independence Day from had come full circle to where they desired their own independence when the powers over them had tried to diminish and reign in their freedom, their security and their liberties. It was Independence Day again in the world! Seeing their bold move reminded me of what we are about to celebrate in a couple of days. This year it appears that the celebration of Independence Day reaches far beyond the borders of the United States but is being echoed around the world!
For us as Americans, the simple celebration with family, friends, fireworks and bar-be-que will be a reminder that even though there are some that want to rob us of our freedom, our peace of mind, our liberties and way of life, we are still a free nation. One thing about being free is that it comes at a price and with conditions. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post called "Independence Day" and used the same picture as a reminder of just how serious we should take our freedom. It can be wiped out, destroyed or even stolen if we become complacent. Below is a portion of that original blog post along with a few new thoughts. I think the sentiments resound even louder now than they did a few years ago when I first wrote the post...
Independence Day - our national day set aside to reflect on what it truly means to be free. Watching the news it seems the whole world is either fighting their battles for freedom or celebrating new found freedom. You may have heard it said that "with freedom comes responsibility." How true that is. Reckless freedom is not truly freedom at all. Freedom to do what we want while trying to stop others from doing what they want is not freedom. Freedom of expression that silences others is not freedom. Taking away the safe space of others to create our own just because "we can" is not freedom. The liberty to silence the voice of another, to strip away the rights of another for our own is not freedom. Independence Day isn't about "independence" as much as it is "interdependence." We each have our own roles to play, our own lives to live and at the same time, we need each other and we are a part of each other. I choose to believe that the human spirit is more powerful and is more about self-sacrifice for the good of others. Look at how so many have stepped up to help others in the midst of terror around the world after devastating events. Citizens have helped other citizens - tending to their wounds, helping them to safety, praying a last prayer with them, sharing tears with grieving family members, giving blood and a million things in between. Some even stood between that person and the terrorist to take a bullet for them! Law enforcement has bravely put themselves in harms way to save others. Courageous leaders have continued to speak out against the injustice and evil trying to divide and destroy us even though they are ridiculed. Interdependence understands that sometimes it is more important to stand up for what is right for everyone than what is right just for you.
This self-sacrifice is not just seen during times of world crisis or political unrest. Watch how everyday "heroes" perform their duties on ordinary days. A firefighter battles a blaze putting his own life in jeopardy to save a family or a neighborhood. A policeman steps into the darkest corners of his city becoming a beacon of hope protecting citizens. A nurse or a doctor spend countless hours in an ER with little sleep committed to saving lives of the sick and injured. A soldier leaves his or her family to cross the ocean in order to fight for the freedom of others. A border patrol agent puts himself between citizens of neighboring towns and potential danger to keep his community and country safe from those who want to sneak in and do harm. A mother spends hours, days, months and years putting her own needs aside for the good of her children and spouse - doing without so they can be cared for. A companion completes a long day at work then comes home to be by the bedside of his sick spouse finding energy somehow to care for her, the children and their home. A technician battles the most adverse conditions to repair electrical lines, or whatever else may be in dis-array to assure others are taken care of and not left without necessary services. Yes the human spirit does not take liberties nor freedom lightly and does not flex its muscle of independence simply because it can.
All of these examples need to be beacons for this generation to see and be reminders of what freedom truly means. Freedom isn't rioting in the streets or stomping on flags just because you can, it isn't condemning other lifestyles nor forcing yours on those who are uncomfortable with it. It isn't about suppressing the speech of others just so you can be heard. It isn't about taking away a person's freedom to express their faith so you can express your disdain of that faith nor is it silencing the person who disagrees with your faith to make your point about you faith. Freedom is both having your voice and listening to the voices of others. It is living your life while respecting the lives of others. Freedom isn't freedom if everyone doesn't have it! Just because you can doesn't mean you should!
What about those that do abuse this liberty, this freedom that we have as citizens of America and of Earth? What about those that take human life with little regard, those that try to usurp authority over basic civil rights and freedom; those who simply want to bring suffering in the life of another or take away any good and any dignity a person has managed to do or obtain? I wonder. Will those oppressors ever be reachable? Approachable? Why does an individual or a group of people, or an elite crowd feel the need to put another down? What joy is there in making life even harder for one who is already struggling? What has brought us to such a place in the human race that we have so little regard for one another? How could an ideology be so flawed that it causes followers to be okay with harming others, belittling others, and destroying others in one way or another?
These are questions that we may never have an answer to. What we can do instead is to focus on our role in promoting freedom and mutual respect. Certain things are in our hands. We all have a choice as to how we use our freedom. We can hurt or heal; we can tear down or build up. We can produce fear or provide protection. We can encourage or we can dampen the human spirit. It starts with us individually and ends with us collectively. Interdependence preserves our independence. This is true freedom!
Happy Independence Day!!!