Sunday, July 28, 2013

America, The Land of the Free

This is a slightly different post than you've come to expect from me. While I always want my writings to be informative, educational, inspiring and illuminating in some manner, I do my best not to be overly pedantic, close-minded or political.

So, I believe that what you're going to gain from this post will definitely be informative and educational. I hope it will be illuminating. But, I don't think it will be inspiring or at least not inspiring in the way I usually want to inspire readers and to be inspired myself.

I am also not being pedantic and I believe my mind is open (like the parachute, the mind only works when it's open). And, while the actual topic could be construed as political in nature, I am not espousing any position, supporting or denigrating any candidate or current elected government politician at any level of government.

The purpose of this post is simply to encourage you, the reader, to gain a better understanding of the forms of governance operating in our world and how they impact people and the, so-called, concept of "Freedom." I contend that politically, we are not a free society, or at least we are not a free society as the phrase is bandied about. I find it to be an oxymoron to call a society free when there are tens of thousands of laws, regulations, ordinances, rules, covenants and so on, that all the, so-called, "free people" must live under, obey, adhere to and comply with.

I dare say that the statement that we are the freest country in the world is a misstatement of reality. When you think back to some 4,000 or so years ago, the Jews basically had Ten Commandments or laws, if you will, that constituted the foundation of their governance. It would be my guess that there weren't even a small fraction of the laws that were part of the underlying causation of the French Revolution and, certainly, while there were injustices and unfairness, including taxation without representation, that precipitated the American Revolution to gain independence and, so-called, freedom from England and the monarchy, I doubt that the laws on the books were a pittance compared to modern day America.

The point being that we need to all have at least a reasonable basic knowledge and understanding of the various kinds of political, governing systems that rule the countries of our world. And even further, to understand how these systems each impacts us and our quest for personal freedom. This isn't a matter of Republican or Democratic or Libertarian or Socialistic or Communistic or Fascist or any other kinds of political parties. It's an understanding of the system that is the foundation for these parties and factional groups and organizations to exist and control societies, "free societies" or otherwise.

So, recently, a fellow in Texas (yes, the Great Republic of Texas), by the name of Jim Foreman posted the following YouTube link on a Yahoo group we both participate. I watched this 10-minute video and found it very elucidating. It's basically a primer or a recap of 10th grade Civics. Unfortunately, much of this, perhaps none of this is currently being taught. And, also, unfortunately, many of us as 10th graders weren't as focused on this as we were on rock and roll, girls/boys, popularity, souping up our cars and high-school sports back then. So, I present this for your information and education (reeducation) and hope you gain what I did. You may change some of your thinking and understanding of exactly where we stand in this concept of "freedom."


My Maine Blog said...

Hello...I am your newest follower. I have just come upon your blog and what little I have been able to read so far...WOW !!! Very interesting and I am looking forward to reading and commenting on your blog. I am on my way out the door this morning to go hiking but will be back to read more of your very interesting journey in life here on your blog. I relate to so much of what I have already read. Enjoyed finding your blog today.

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Hi My Maine Blog,

Thanks for dropping in and for joining up as a new Living Free follower. I hope you gain more from my musings as you have the opportunity to read more.

I went to your blog and looked at your bio. You're a very interesting woman. I like your photography and while I'm not a major fan of poetry, I have to admit, I enjoyed reading some of yours. I've not spent very much time in Maine, but I'm hoping to enjoy a lot more of its natural beauty and getting to know more of its interesting people. I have a long-time, video producer friend who has a place in Readfield, ME - near Augusta, and another friend in Rockport. I also have a full-time RVer friend who summers in ME (and is there now, near the coast and near Rockport) and will leave to winter in FL come about Mid September, if I recall his schedule. I'm hoping to get up to Maine this fall and visit my friends and do some exploring.

Some of your photos brought back warm memories of the fictional town of Cabot Cove of the Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) "Murder She Wrote" TV series. I know the actual Cabot Cove exterior shots were done in Mendocino, CA - but it's still how I envision a small Maine coastal town.

I am also excited to learn that your daughter is an R&B artist. I'll look into exploring that more. As you probably know if you read my bio, my background is in the recording business, so anyone who has anything to do with music perks my ears up.


Anonymous said...

AMAZING video, Ed! Thank you for posting... I reposted it on my Facebook page. I'm not happy with the way our government is going. I see history repeating itself and unfolding before us. Hail, Caesar!

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Thanks! I hope lots of people get a good civic lesson from the video. It's one of the simplest and clearest explanations of a complex and controversial topic that I've seen.

Loved your Gettysburg visit! I've been there several times - I was even a model for a magazine layout for the U.S. Air Force shot on the Gettysburg Battlefield in the early 70's. I totally love gaining other people's perspectives. Keep up the great posts.


Edmund Moore said...

Excellent post, and I learned this in an excellent public education system. I also was socialized to be empathetic of others. My upbringing, spiritual and moral, inform me of my path today. I fear for our republic; the greatest threat comes from the assault on reason and critical thinking. Whether by design or chance, no child left behind, homeschooling and cyber academies are not the solution the are an integral part of the problem. The destruction of the middle ground seems to be working, and I live in Mr. Franklin"s commonwealth where these events keep unfolding. The lessons in Gilberton, pa will be painful to learn a community in the death throes of poverty and ignorance. Will the Republic prevail ? Let us see --Gilberton is the canary in the hard scrabble coal fields of Pa.

Edmund Moore said...

So much for proofreading, Strunk & White etc.

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

As Richard Carlson says, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff."

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Edmund.

There are a lot of people in the country who empathize with your thoughts and fears. Unfortunately, it appears that the larger majority are ignorant and apathetic - "I don't know and I don't care" is the attitude. Over the last 50 years and more so during the past 25 or 30 years people have become more focused on themselves and getting everything they want no matter the price or who they have to step on or over to get it. Certainly, not everyone is that way, but I dare say, that's the prevailing attitude. We continue to hear all the bellyaching and bitching about local, state and federal elected representatives, yet - those same people keep reelecting the same low-life, self-serving slugs from the top job all the way down.

That's why democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried (according to Sir Winston Churchill). As someone with a degree in education and certified (in the latter 60's) to teach kindergarten through 12th grade, and then later, with a master's degree, to teach on the college level, I have watched with dismay the collapse and corruption of our public education system. Personally, I know people who have home schooled their children and they were prepared to enter Ivy League universities when they were 15 and 16. Someone once said that those with college degrees end up working for those who don't have college degrees - and there is some truth to that - just consider Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell (to mention a few) as modern day examples. Intelligence, some talent and raw ability can pretty much trump a college education.

Right on about Gilberton, PA - but even more dramatic is Detroit, of course, and Camden, NJ across the river from the City of Brotherly Love. Camden is currently the most impoverished, crime ridden city in the U.S. even worse than Detroit.

The answers? Heck! If I knew the answers, but even more important if I knew the answers and anyone would actually listen and apply them I'd be more popular than the Vacationer in Chief living in the big White House in DC. I can say it really goes back to basic values, rights and freedom - and just keeping it simple. But, except for a tiny fraction of the population, those are now part of the history books - oops, no they're not, because understanding those things would "corrupt" our youth.

Nice to have you joining us, Edmund.