Freedom is not free, or is it?


To the editor:

Freedom, broadly speaking, means having no boundaries, no attachments, and no strings.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines freedom as the quality or state of being free: The absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action.

Freedom here is limitless. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” This would broadly mean that citizens are free to choose, speak and express themselves without hindrance or limits, right?

A response of “right” or “wrong” might depend on who is answering. But this is where the conundrum lies. Since we have a moral obligation to “be our brother’s keeper,” it is incumbent upon us to have a collective understanding of the meaning of the “freedom” that is expressed in the Constitution.

We must all agree that this “freedom” is not without limits.

When my kids are told they are free to do things, they understand they have freedom to a point. They understand they should not throw caution to the wind. They understand there will be punishment when they do not exercise “reasonable” judgment.

They understand “reasonable” as “sensible.” Most children understand, depending on their age of course, that freedom is not really “free.” I would therefore think that a reasonable expectation of limits, coupled with our basic sense of right from wrong, should serve as a guide for us adults to know when is too far.

Freedom is not unfettered. People are free to inspire emotions in others, but are not free to instruct people to destroy property, hurt others, take what does not belong to them, etc.

To think that any person — especially in political office — could incite a mob to assault our democracy, to cause destruction and resultant deaths without punition, is outrageous. Where is the outrage?

The double-standards in politics must stop. The duality of accountability, or lack thereof — especially of our leaders — must stop. What is good for the goose must also be good for the gander as well.

We are sending mixed messages to our young people, and we are subverting expectations of political participation in our young people because of this flagrant hypocrisy.

American politicians need to remember who they are working for.

Enough of the doublespeak. Our democracy should be a yardstick for others. It should be a system of forbearance and mutual respect. A system that works on behalf of the people — all people, not a circus where you perform for a select audience.

Debbie Boucher

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Debbie Boucher,