From my good friend Andres Jimenez:
After the 7th anniversary of 9/11 I have been giving some thought as to where we are today. We are a country and a people that have created so many things in history. This country is an amalgamation of people put together for a purpose. That purpose must be protected.
My family has roots in Cuba, and as fate would have it that country lost its freedom in a communist revolution. My “abuelo” and “abuela” wanted something better for their family, so they sent their children alone to a new country with the hope of having freedom. They came years later, and worked hard to give their children something better than they had lived in their life. Their children had children, and they all worked hard to give their children more than what their parents, in a difficult time, had provided.
Sometimes we forget who we are. Sometimes we forget where this country came from. Sometimes we forget that each of us is responsible, as part of a group, to become something greater than the unit. These individuals, as a group, form what we call the United States of America. We are free not by a grant of the government, but by the act of God. We have a duty to protect each other and to give as many people in the world a taste of the freedom we have here. The USA has given that chance too many people over the last two centuries, and as Reagan said years ago we “are the last best hope of man on earth.”
Why do people come to the USA? They brave desserts to our south and sharks on a 90 mile stretch of the Caribbean to reach our borders. They come for the chance to get mere morsels from the table of liberty. We give the individual a chance to be what he/she desires. Liberty is our trademark and opportunity is our product. We have something the rest of the world wants, and at times, instead we start bickering about what I can get from someone else. In reality we should start thinking about what we can give individually. People with drive in the past have given us most of the inventions that we take for granted today. They have given us the cotton gin, the refrigerator, the microwave, the light bulb, the telegraph, the oil well, televisions, toilet paper, the electric motor, lasers, computers, the airplane, telephones, liquid fuel rockets, scotch tape, the Xerox copier, the integrated circuit, calculators, and chocolate chip cookies, just to name a few. All of these inventions could only have come about with freedom, the freedom to pursue your idea without interference from somebody else.
We must constantly remind ourselves about where we get our strength. It is not from a leader, a party, or the government, but from each other. All of us are free people, each doing our part to make this country work. We don’t get answers from our government, we generally get interference. There is a constant creation of laws and programs which only seem to hamper the creativity and drive of this great country. Most of the programs we have today were not there in the beginning, and maybe it is because some of them probably should not have been there. Today is a result of a culmination of history. People created things and, over time, generation after generation, it all started adding up. What we have today did not magically appear in the last decade. We made machines that make our lives better. We also made laws and government programs. We end up with our current state of being, our combination of historical ripple effect.
We hear things are bad today, but everyday I see things that remind me that I am lucky. I am lucky that I was born here, instead of any other country. I am lucky that I eat everyday. I am lucky that I have a home to go to every night, and car that gets me there. I am lucky that I have people in my life that I care about, and they care about me. I am lucky that my brain continues to tell my lungs to breath without stopping. God is always there, and I am lucky that no matter what happens, I know he loves me. It is not that bad overall. Yes, we have some troubles. We have high gas prices, taxes, government spending, budget overruns, high food costs, high medical costs, and an abundance of laws, statutes, and regulations. We will get through these troubles that we encounter. That is what freedom can do. It gives you the strength to seek without counting the cost. To look for the answers which give each individual life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
When we discuss who we are going to vote for, what we really need to ask is “Who is going to give me freedom?” When we elect our representatives for this great nation, we need only ask variants of the same question, “Does your suggestion grant me, and my neighbor, freedom?” “Are you going to interfere in the lives of citizens of the USA, or are you going to allow us to reach our ultimate potential?” “Are you going to ensure that all citizens are not overburdened, and at the same time equally burdened, with taxes and unneeded legislation?” “Are going to protect the lives of all the citizens of the USA from internal and external threats to our security?” “Are you going to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare to ensure that I can have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”
It is not enough to say “Yes” to all those questions. The planned actions and instinctual ideas of the candidate must logically lead to a state of freedom. Any action which does not provide liberty, must by default interfere in the life, the people and the system of the United States of America. Does the candidate want to rule you, or over you, or does the candidate want you to decide how you live your life. Thomas Paine covered this point eloquently in 1776 when he said, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
Andres Francisco Jimenez