Consider this: Are we free?

Reed Harris

Are we free?  At least as much as we have desired to be free?  Let’s look at the Preamble to the Constitution of The United States.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

As much as we might hope that our Constitution pertains to individuals, we can see in the preamble that it pertains to a perfect union. Union, in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, has a definition of “an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one.”  So, we, as American citizens, are united together in this country, to establish Justice, ensure Tranquility, provide defense, promote general Welfare, and secure blessings of Liberty.

Our Constitution is not for me, nor is it for you. It is for all of us. In this country we are free to do anything we want if we don’t infringe on others. We should be concerned about the general welfare of the people not our individual welfare. We must provide defenses for all. Not for a small group of people we are beholding to. Justice for all, not just for us.

So, do we really have freedom? Women, and I do mean all women as a united body, did have the freedom to choose what was best for their health and welfare. That was until last June when Roe V. Wade was overturned.  But they have not lost only their ability to have an abortion, they are losing their rights, one by one, state by state, to be able to keep their bodies healthy and safe.

In this case, have we promoted the general welfare of every individual? If it hadn’t been overturned, who would be suffering? Having the right to do something is not the same as an action that must be done. The right to choose should never be taken away. A woman’s welfare is now being challenged. And, today, why can’t the public vote on this rather than the courts rule on it? Freedom taken away.

There is no one I know in the country that doesn’t feel that our Union of individuals has a right to own firearms. Although it’s very ambiguous, it says so right in the Constitution. So why is our government trying to take them away? The simple answer to this is that they are not. There is no one I know of that has said let’s remove all firearms from our citizens. In 1994, the federal government placed a restriction on assault-type rifles. This ban lasted 10 years and reduced deaths by about 25 percent. Were we worried about our guns then?

How does this pertain to any loss of freedom? Well, do we feel safe going to the grocery store, the mall, to school? Do our children get to grow up with knowledge and life lessons without being walked through shooter drills? Are you worried about going to place you used to frequent without worrying about the shooting that just took place at that location? Do you watch parades or concerts without looking around each corner or at the top of each tall building? Are you getting tired or stressed thinking about these things? Freedom taken away.

Some will tell you that 70 percent of deaths are caused by using handguns. This, I believe, is correct. Though we usually hear where at least two or more guns are involved with two, maybe more, deaths and injuries inflicted. With assault rifles, though the perpetrator may have more than one gun on them, usually one gun is used and 10 or many more are dead or injured. And, of course, more is happening each month.

In the Constitution, every citizen of a certain age has the right to vote. But what does that mean? When polling locations are closed for whatever reason, does this restrict our rights?  When polling locations are closed on campuses, does this restrict our rights? When polling locations, that are heavily used due to other locations being closed, are banned from providing water or snacks to voters waiting up to eight hours, does this restrict our rights?

Could a national, state or local holiday help? How about when it is hard to man additional polling places because poll workers are hard to come by? Would teaching civic duty in the classroom help? A bill containing laws to help voters was brought before Congress and was voted on. It did not pass. Freedom taken away.

When it comes to general welfare, we feel we have many freedoms. We have the right to healthcare, if we can afford it. Otherwise, we have the freedom to be sick. We have the freedom to go to public school. But if the politicians push private schools and get vouchers from the government to attend them, will we have enough money left over for public schools and what would they look like? But the freedom’s there, for now.

We have the freedom to lie even when those lies cause hatred, additional lies, false claims and much more. Does this freedom improve the general welfare? Of course, we have the freedom to sue if these lies interfere with our livelihood or day-to-day activities. But again, we need to have money to do this. So, has the general welfare improved?

We have the freedom to read anything we want to. But when we are young, only that which has been approved not by our parents which would be normal, but by our school boards which is not. We have the freedom to watch drag shows, or any other unusual show we want. Again, when young, only when the local officials feel it appropriate. Our parents, well they can’t do anything about that.

So, we must raise every child conceived. But if you think you will be able to raise them without hunger, with schooling, with the ability to be healthy, and otherwise as you see fit, well…