Thursday, September 9, 2010

A More Perfect Union

Can you name the five freedoms we are afforded by the first amendment? After our trip to DC, I have been thinking a lot about how great our country really is. It is not perfect by any means, but if you sit down and give some real thought to the freedoms we have been afforded, as a gift of our founding fathers' wisdom and the sweat and bloodshed of many Americans before us, it is pretty incredible to behold. You and I can go out and make anything of ourselves. We can start our own business and contribute to the economy. We can work in and contribute to the industry of our choosing. We can get as much education as our little hearts desire. We can push ourselves athletically or intellectually to the very top of our game. Our possibilities, as Americans, are endless!

Can you imagine if our voices were squelched? Can you imagine if you didn't have the right to speak your mind, to any and every person, no matter their status? If you were punished for doing so? You can write a letter to or call your local representatives and senators, your state representatives and senators, even the President of the United States! The system is not perfect, and it may take awhile, but our voices, especially when they are collective, are heard! Can you imagine if someone told you when, where, and on what topic or from what viewpoint you were allowed to speak?

Can you imagine if you were not allowed to drive each Sunday morning or Wednesday night, or on whichever day you meet, to your chosen place of worship, and you were not allowed to freely worship as you choose? There are so many countries in which Christians are persecuted and forced to meet in secret to worship Christ. I so often take for granted my freedom to praise. I should sing and worship all the louder because I can do it in full freedom! As a Christian in the US, I should be singing from the rooftops, simply because I can!

Can you imagine if we did not have access to real and real-time information about the world around us? Can you imagine if our government kept all important information behind closed doors and never granted access to the public? What an environment of secrecy, power-hunger, and ill-fated decisions that would create. I am so thankful that I can wake up every morning, turn on my local news channel and then see Meredith Viera's smiling face on The Today Show briefing me with all the news of the day.

What if our country outlawed large gatherings of people? What if churches couldn't meet, or people couldn't gather together for causes, be they political, service-oriented, or protest. I can't imagine.

And what if those in charge of our nation informed us that we had no right to speak our minds as a people, as a citizenry, to change our home for the better and the greater good? What if picket lines were outlawed and you were disallowed from voicing your beliefs about abortion, or gay rights, or political candidates you support?
OH...wait. Ultimately, WE are the ones in charge. This is the beauty of the United States of America. Our officials are elected, our freedoms are many, and our futures are wide open for our own choosing.
We should be very thankful, and I believe, we should be active in the political process so that these freedoms and others stay intact. Of course, you are free to abstain, as well. :)

*photos are some of the ones I took at the Newseum in DC

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