THE GREAT EXPERIMENT
For more than 236 years, the United States of America has been known as the greatest experiment in the history of the world. An experiment that began in a new world wrestled from Native Americans with muskets and gunpowder. A new world without modern creature comforts such as plumbing, television, radio, automobiles or even the Internet. (Gasp!) These brave Americans created a structure of government of the people, by the people and for the people as they still died of polio and common infections.
Their America was based on absolute freedoms against the tyranny of the European Monarchies that sought to squelch free-thinking, prayer and representation from and participation in the government. In many ways, their experiment was a grand success. Men set free have unleashed the true power of the human spirit. Under the umbrella of this experiment, Man has developed medicines that have cured disease. Scientists have landed humans on the moon. Soldiers have extinguished the hatred and evil of the Third Reich. More so, since the dawn of the modern, electronic age, Man has become more successful in the past 50 years than in the entire tens of thousands of years at an exponential rate.
But here is where the experiment begins to fail. The freedoms granted by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and protected with the lives of great Americans and great soldiers have not protected its citizens as much as they have guaranteed freedom for those who wish to live on the outskirts of honor and decency.
Freedom allows a man to leave a bar under the influence of alcohol and murder an innocent couple driving home from a party.
Freedom allows a bully to abuse a young boy on his Facebook page. Calling him fat and gay and retarded and forcing him to the brink of ending his own life.
Freedom allows a group to raise a banner reading “God Hates Fags” under the umbrella of religious protection as a black hearse drives slowly past, carrying the body of a soldier who died while protecting those very freedoms in a foreign land.
Freedom allows a troubled boy to take an automatic weapon with a clip that holds a massive number of bullets to break into a school and kill dozens of six year old children.
Where is the freedom for that couple killed by the drunk driver? For the child forever mentally damaged by hurtful speech? For the family of that fallen soldier? For those parents who have now had to bury their child? Where are their protections?
This is where the great experiment is blind. It goes so far to protect the criminals and those who live their lives outside of decent society and it has another set of standards for those who choose to just live their lives, but for an honest day’s work at an honest day’s pay. For those who pay their taxes and their bills; put a few small comforts under the Christmas tree or the Hanukkah Menorah or the Festivus Pole – or those that don’t worship at all. Where is our freedom?
Can an experiment ever be called successful if it doesn’t succeed at all levels? Or could it be called, like Apollo 13, the spacecraft that almost blew up and killed three astronauts, a “Successful Failure?” Ronald Reagan said “It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is responsible for his own actions.” Can’t there be fewer laws yet more important ones at the same time? Can’t there be more laws that support the “Golden Rule” rather than corporations and special interest groups?
I’m not sure I want to live in a world where the man shooting my child has more protections than I do. That doesn’t seem fair and it doesn’t seem like what our founding fathers meant to have happen 236 years ago. Of course it isn’t. They crafted their laws and their ideals based upon their time and their place. That place is not here. This time is not their time. There needs to be more mature laws and more evolved ideas. They can still certainly honor the core beliefs of this country, but in a more modern and civilized way.
What those rules and laws and protections are, I’m not smart enough to say. But these discussions and debates must happen. And they must happen knowing that we are failing the intention of those men. They wanted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, there is none of those if you are gunned down by those who don’t have respect for those pursuits.
There are no answers in this column. I wish there were. I wish there were answers for those who were murdered last week. I wish there were answers for those who have died to drunk drivers last year and those who had to endure the obscenities of the Westboro Baptist “Church” and those who were bullied into killing themselves at the hand of electronic bullies.
But I will promise to honor those that deserve honor and freedom and fight those that do not.
That is my freedom.