As the old saying goes “words have meaning”. As we get ready to celebrate Memorial Day we need to realize that it is a special day we set aside once each year not just to remember those who sacrificed to their last full measure, but also to recognize the meaning behind WHY they did so. If you ask anyone who has ever served in the military why they served the universal answer you’re pretty much guaranteed to receive back is “to defend your rights and protect your freedoms”. The one answer you’ll never hear back is “to guarantee you free stuff”. Many have willingly sacrificed for your right to speak freely. No veteran that I know of has ever sacrificed for your right to do it on a free Obamaphone.
One thing that has always bothered me in political discussions is how easily people throw around words like “rights” and “freedoms” without having even the slightest comprehension of the true value of those words. For example, we all have a “right” to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, to put it bluntly, you DO NOT have the “right” to ANYTHING that is a direct result of the forced seizure from others. So for all the morons that keep saying people have a right to health care, you’re wrong. You have the “freedom” to pursue quality health care, but you don’t have a “right” to get if for free. In that same vein Sandra Fluke has the “freedom” to pursue all the contraception her lifestyle demands, but she doesn’t have a “right” to force others to pay for it.
What our founders sought and others sacrificed so much for was a land not of guarantees, but a land of freedom and opportunity. What no one ever likes to discuss is that with such great liberties also comes great responsibilities. In other words, we each have a “right” to pursue our dreams and the “freedom” to make the decisions about how we do so. However, we also have the freedom to experience the consequences of those decisions. We DON’T have a right to force the burdens of our poor decision making onto others. For example, if you’re a high school drop out don’t go blaming society because of your lack of meaningful job skills. The first question I always ask during a minimum wage debate is why adults with families are trying to feed their families on minimum wage jobs in the first place. Here’s a hint, if it’s all about a lack of available jobs in general why then don’t you ever see unemployed Dr’s? The reality is that job opportunities are all about job skills and it’s the lack of job skills that keep adults in minimum wage jobs. That’s why my next question is always “what are YOU doing to improve your situation?” After all, you may have the “freedom” to whine about your circumstances, but you don’t have the “right” to force others to fix it for you.
Words, like numbers are easy to manipulate. That’s why they are so often used as political tools. It’s not that politicians have become so adept at using them as much as we as a people have become too lazy to challenge their usage. The problem is that by being so lazy we’ve also become insensitive into the true cost behind the value of certain words. Some words are more sacred than others simply based on the sacrifices required both in obtaining and maintaining those words. When they get thrown around in such an arbitrary fashion for mere political points both their meaning and thus the value of the sacrifice behind them gets diluted. If we are willing to make a day so special that we blow off work and create large gatherings to feast in celebration shouldn’t we also take the time to understand what the sacrifices we are celebrating actually mean? If it’s supposed to be a day of memory where we honor those who sacrificed so much shouldn’t we also honor the meaning behind the words that they sacrificed so much for?