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Friday, January 05, 2007

The Price of Liberty

I suppose we all enjoy being free. In fact we have enjoyed such a prolonged season of liberty on the North American Continent that we are afforded the luxury of taking much of it for granted. Of course the problem with luxury is that it creates softness. Luxury in the physical world creates physical softness and luxury in the mental world creates mental softness.

As Americans we see liberty as our birthright. What we fail to realize is that most of the world, most of the time has not been free. Our liberty has produced unparalleled prosperity and technological advancement. Our prosperity has produced softness and a generation that is unwilling to face what are at times harsh realities.

Have we forgotten why we are free, why we have liberty? Why we can vote in mostly honest elections? Why there is food on the shelves of every store in America? Why we can work where we choose? Why we can work for ourselves if we so choose? Why we can worship according to the dictates of our own conscience? Why we are free to travel the country from Seattle to Miami and from Boston to San Francisco and every place in between? Why we are free to leave the country on business or pleasure with a simple passport? Why we can live anywhere we want and move as often as we like? Why we are free to dissent and petition government for a redress of grievances? Why we are all, most of the time, equal before the law? Have we forgotten who it is that has secured such liberty for us?

Let there be no mistaking the fact that liberty comes from God. God created man free! Liberties come from God. That does not mean that there will not always be a tyrant lurking the shadows seeking to deprive men of their God given liberties! Politicians do not secure liberty. In fact they have often been found to be the gravest enemy to liberty. Constitutions do not secure liberty. Constitutions are simply ink and parchment. Governments do not secure liberty. Again they can often be found to be a great enemy to liberty. Do not misunderstand. Good Constitutions limit the power of government thus securing liberty to the individual. Good government secures for its citizens the liberties given them by God. Good politicians are the guardians of the people's liberties.

But let us be sober and realize that we are free today not because our Founding Fathers bequeathed us a Constitutional Republic. We are not free because of our institutions of government. We are not free because of the great and noble men who have blessed us with their leadership and vision. We are free tonight because blood has been shed. We are free tonight because of the soldier. The Declaration of Independence would have been meaningless had not soldiers met the enemy on the field of battle and brought the enemy to surrender. Unless the Revolutionary War had been fought and soldiers died the words, "We the people of the United States of America" would never have been penned. We are free tonight because the people had the courage to identify the enemy and fight until the enemy was defeated. It is the spirit contained in the immortal words of Patrick Henry that guarantee freedom, "Give me liberty or give me death!"

It was soldiers who kept us free in the war of 1812 when the enemy once again invaded our shores and even burned our Capitol! In every war and battle since then it has been the soldier who has kept us free. It has been men of strength and determination who have understood the threat of the enemy and the nation rallied and the enemy was defeated. Soldiers died and liberty was sustained!

But alas, the times have changed! The understanding and determination of the people and the politician has waxed shallow and tends to wallow in inglorious fear and trepidation. The clarion call of Patrick Henry has been mellowed to the refrain of, "give me liberty if it does not cost too much?!"

This brings me to the point of this post. It is a difficult thing to contend for not because it is not right but because of the environment that has been created. I just read today that Thomas Paine wrote, "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." So let me be honest even at the risk of being offensive. There have been 3,000 confirmed deaths by the DoD in the war in Iraq. What we are doing is worth every one of them. It is time someone had the courage to say so!

We are at war. We have an enemy. He is challenging us in the streets of Baghdad. There is no greater proof that we have an enemy in Iraq than the 3,000 dead American soldiers and 46,880 wounded. How can people say the issue is not Iraq? The fact is Iraq is the location where the battle has been engaged. We are fighting people there who would terrorize our women and children and bring us under the umbrella of their Islamic tyranny! The war is being fought there. Fortunately it was the United States that chose the place of battle. They attempted to do so on September 11, 2001. We won the first phase by saying we will not fight here but in your own back yard is where the battle will be fought away from our people. You want the fight we will give it to you but it must be fought as much as we have power to determine where it will be fought in your own part of the world.

These 3,000 American soldiers have died in a glorious cause, the cause of freedom. Their flag draped coffins should remind us all of the purpose of their sacrifice. Every time a military detail kneels at the feet of a grieving mother or wife and presents them with a smartly folded American flag we should rejoice that the land of the free and the home of the brave still produces men who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for love of country. Every time we see the tear-stained face of a lamenting wife or mother walking arm in arm with a military detail our hearts should grieve with them in their hour of distress and we should thank God that they raised a young man or married a young man who was willing to risk all for liberty, for yours and mine!

May the rest of us, people and politician alike learn a lesson from these brave men and women about the value of liberty. May we see the cause for which they died as being such a glorious cause, such a noble cause that we recommit ourselves every day to win and subdue the enemy in the sands and streets of Iraqi! There could be no greater disservice to their memory than to walk away from the fight without subduing the enemy. If it takes 10 years and 30,000 soldiers, it would be ashamed to be a traitor to the cause for which they gave the last full measure!

God bless the American soldier and the United States of America!

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