Let freedom ring

For your consideration

editorial@sierrastar.comJuly 1, 2014 

There have been many discussions and stories about the origins of the phrase "Let freedom ring," ranging from the ringing of the Liberty Bell at the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the lyrics in "My Country, 'tis of Thee" by Samuel Francis Smith. Although many differ on its origin, we commonly agreed on its meaning. It was a message of unity. In the Revolutionary War, we united against British tyranny. In Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech it was a call for unity of people of all color, race (more accurately ethnicity) and creed to be treated equally and live in harmony.

Today, the word freedom and its equals – liberty, justice, the Constitution and patriotism – have been dangerously adulterated by those who exclusively claim it as theirs. When you malign others for being unpatriotic, taking away your liberty, violating the Constitution, and infringing on your freedom when it bears no resemblance to their actions, you diminish significance of those words. When you use it as a marketing tool to manipulate Americans, you devalue its meaning. Either way, you sully the words of the founding fathers. Those words should never be used opportunistically, disrespectfully, casually or loosely.

The frequency of anti-Americanism accusations is predominantly, if not exclusively, flaunted at KMJ, FOX, other similar media outlets and sadly Freedom Fests of past years. One should be wary of those who profusely proclaim that God, freedom, liberty, patriotism and the Constitution are on their side. Shakespeare, a keen observer of the human condition, said " Methinks thou doth protest too much" meaning when one is overly insistent about something, the opposite is most likely true. This divisive rhetoric has turned brother against brother, sister against sister and family against family.

Many argued against attacking Iraq because none of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis (15 Saudi Arabia, 2 UAE, 1 Egypt, 1 Lebanon); because there were no WMDs; because it would be a never ending conflict; because it would take at least 250,000 troops; because there would be too many American casualties and because it would be too costly in blood and treasure.

Instead the media paraded generals, warmongers and pundits asserting false claims of ricin and anthrax, mushroom clouds, yellow cake for uranium enrichment and Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda. They believed Bill Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and Richard Perle when they predicted it would be a cake walk; it will take only 50,000 troops and two weeks; and we will be greeted as liberators.

Their predictions were wrong and their assertions were lies but they were believed. Why? This demonstrates the power of sporting American flag pins and invoking freedom, liberty and patriotism. "Loose lips sink ships." That was a World War II slogan cautioning inadvertent dissemination of information to the enemy because careless talk can cost lives. Well, careless and loose talk of freedom, liberty and patriotism got us into Iraq and cost countless loss of American lives.

This kind of talk is a staple of Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Neil Boortz and Rush Limbaugh, arguably the father of this talk radio genre. You hear it constantly on KMJ and FOX. You hear it from the Tea Party, its leaders and mainstream Republicans who fear being deposed by Tea Party candidates. Every foreign or domestic policy has been made a referendum on freedom, liberty, patriotism and the Constitution.

Obamacare is an assault on individual liberty and violates the Constitution. Prohibiting open carry is an infringement on individual freedom. Raising minimum wage violates free market principles, therefore un-American. Same-sex marriage infringes on the freedoms of traditional marriages. Not permitting the XL Pipeline means killing job creation and hurts Americans therefore you are unpatriotic and hate America. Regulating fracking means you are against American energy independence which hurts national security so that means you are trying to undermine America which is an act of treason. Climate change is a hoax and socialist plot.

Independence Day speeches across the U.S. were laced with this kind of rhetoric. It evoked feelings of hate, revolution, discord, discontent, agitation, dissatisfaction, unhappiness and confrontation. They characterized actions related to foreign policy, regulatory actions, energy policy, and social and economic proposals as treasonous, tyrannical, unconstitutional and imperious. The Founders would be appalled.

Let's take Independence Day back from those who use it as a platform for political persecution. Let freedom ring indeed. Free us from this insanity. It's tearing America apart.

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