“We stand for freedom, for our rights, for social independence, for democracy, for freedom of speech, for everything, for a normal life,” she told The Associated Press from her hospital bed in Kiev. Excerpt from interview with Olesya Zhukovska
The words of this young woman, an ordinary Ukrainian citizen, a paramedic, should strike a chord with every American. They should give us pause, to stop and think about how precious these rights are. Right now in the Ukraine everyday people, most of them young, and middle class, are willing to die for them. I’ve listened to and read the interviews of these courageous people. I am amazed, and shamed by them. Amazed at their bravery and tenacity, shamed that they are willing to die for what we take for granted.
Sadly, we don’t just take these rights, rights protected by the Constitution, for granted, we are actually begging for them to be taken away. We ask the federal government to take away our sovereign right to bear arms. We look the other way when the FCC wants to monitor our newsrooms. We allow the IRS, a bureaucracy created to impose taxes on us, to dictate our health care. Is there any logic to that? We are happy to trade our personal freedom for a life free from worry or want. Let the government take care of us, just so long as we do not have to assume responsibility for our own lives. We willingly elect to office men and women more interested in increasing their own power and pocketbooks than meeting the needs of their constituencies. If we go to the polls at all, we choose candidates whose names we recognize, who are the best looking, the person our mother told us to vote for, or someone promising more free stuff. We are gullible and believe pretty speeches. We don’t expect our press to thoroughly vet our candidates and we don’t demand excellence from our leaders. We settle for men and women of lesser integrity lest we have to look too deeply at ourselves.
Meanwhile, half a world away there are those who are prepared to die for what we are happily throwing away. The very rights that generations of our own young men (and women, too) have fought and died to preserve. The rights that our Founders painstakingly preserved in our Constitution, that we might be a shining example of what a nation can become when its people are free. The kind of nation that the Ukrainian protesters are trying to create for themselves.
Yes, we should be ashamed
I am not a Catholic. I have no problem with women choosing to use contraception to prevent a pregnancy. I think it’s great when an insurance company covers it.
But just who in the, heck, does the President and his Congressional supporters think they are? How did they come to the conclusion that they actually have the authority to force a religious institution to abandon its tenants of faith? This bill is not about women’s rights, health or contraception.
It’s about a government over reaching its authority and insinuating itself further and further into our private lives.
Who is to blame for this? We are. We have become dependent on the “nanny state”. To many of us are happy to trade away a few personal freedoms, for the government’s promise of a life without worry or want. We want the government to protect us from being offended, or inconvenienced by our neighbors. We want businesses to be regulated so that their profits are handed over to the government and redistributed, so that we can have free health care, a grocery allowance, and subsidized housing. Most dangerous of all, we want the government to be our conscience.
Both liberals and conservatives want the government to restrict behaviors that we find immoral or offensive. We want airwaves censored from sex, violence, and obscene language, yet we continue to tune into shows and buy tickets to movies that contain those very things. Some want women to be able to have an abortion any time, anywhere, for any reason, and some feel that there is never a justifiable reason to abort a baby. Many of us choose our elected officials on this issue alone. Meanwhile we fail to teach our children that a sexual relationship carries with it some heavy responsibilities, and requires a certain level of maturity. We want the government to prevent banks from charging penalty fees when we fail to handle our finances responsibly. We want the police to crack down on drunk drivers, speeders, and red-light runners, but we complain about rogue cops when we are the ones who get caught. We no longer have the ability to make very basic judgments for ourselves.
The Founding Fathers designed our Constitution to limit government. I’m sure they never intended for the Bill of Rights to be twisted and perverted into a device that allows the government to become our teacher, our parent, our God. We need to resurrect our common sense and good manners. We need to stop confusing legal with moral and take responsibility for our own clean living rather than imposing it on others. Most of all we need to use our patronage and our pocketbooks to effect social change rather than placing power that should belong to the people into the hands of the government.