Editorial: Freedom isn't free

Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013 in Opinion

Editorial: Freedom isn't free

Monday was Memorial Day, a day when those who fought and died in the military are honored and remembered.

It is meet and right so to do.

But the talking point for Memorial Day is upsetting to us on many levels.  It is something like this:

"These people died so you could be free (intimating that you are doing nothing on your own to defend your own freedom).  If you are free, thank a soldier."

We do thank soldiers; they do a hideous job for little recompense and often come home with wounds, hidden and visible, that challenge them for the rest of their lives.

But they aren't the only people who defend freedom, many of whom never stepped onto a battlefield and none of whom are honored with two days of remembrance every year. 

I think we need to broaden our definition to include people like every single person who fought for civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, immigrants' rights, children's rights. 

We need to include every journalist who challenges the government at every level.

We should add every Peace Corps volunteer who tries to demonstrate that the U.S. isn't JUST guns and death raining from the sky, and every ambassador and attache who works for peace through negotiation.

We have to honor every person who works to solve the severe problems the Earth is facing due to our greed and the greed of huge corporations that have no ethical problem poisoning the water, air, and land, and killing off the bee population ... and humanity in the process ... just to make a buck.

We need to thank every person who works to solve the severe problems the poor and middle classes are facing due to the greed of the financial services industry.

We should be honoring every person who fights to save someone wrongly accused of a crime.

We should thank those who put out information, as uncomfortable as it makes the government or candidates running for office, that shines a bright spotlight on their activities.  We should honor those who use any means necessary to obtain that information.

We should include every teacher who, despite government's desire to keep children mindless automatons with meaningless testing, hands the key to freedom to his or her students by teaching them how to read, think critically, and learn the lessons of history.

And, yes, we should thank those who fight against wars, especially unnecessary wars, as a matter of conscience.

Freedom isn't free, but soldiers can't do it alone.  It takes every person doing his or her part to keep the population an informed citizenry.  Only then are we truly free.

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