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Emotions of Liberty: From Pride to Resolve

by Alfred A. Hambidge, Jr.

Thinking about Liberty often evokes a multitude of emotions. Pride. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Excitement. Resolve.

Pride in being an American, part of the great experiment in self-government that started 225 years ago, the first time in history that a nation was newly created with the sovereignty and liberty of the individual as its foundation. Pride in the fact that our forefathers gave us a written Constitution that has lasted longer than any other since, and has served as a model for other nations.

Yet, there is sadness, in that too many of us just don't know what the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution say and mean, or understand the principles and philosophy of government that are at their core. Sadness that many of us don't even care enough to find out. Sadness, for if we care at all about rights, it is only about our own favorite rights, not everybody's rights. Sadness, because we are so ignorant of history that we choose to "trade essential liberty for a little temporary safety." Sadness that complacency has replaced courage, that the collective is valued more than the individual.

Then the sadness becomes anger, because the apathy and ignorance that surround us are being used against us by those who lust for power. Anger at those who feel they can run my life better than I can, telling me what to eat, drink, smoke, think, do, and say, ready to use the force of government against me if I don't comply. "After all," they say, "it's for your own good." Anger at those who want to dictate how, when, where, with what, and if I will be allowed to defend my family from the predators among us. Anger for having to get permission from some bureaucrat before doing many of the things that were taken for granted years ago, like open a business, replace a porch, put in a toilet, buy a gun. Anger, that the government which was supposed to be the protector of our Liberty is now our greatest danger, threatening to crush any who refuse to submit to its power. Anger for letting this creep up on us, and anger toward myself for not doing more to stop it.

But that anger leads to a fear, that the Beast which government has become may come for me if I speak out too forcefully. Fear, because by having an understanding of what the Founders intended, I am considered dangerous by those in power. Fear that my children might be taken from me if I do not teach them to be obedient serfs. Fear that I could lose everything I hold dear if I take a stand against those who abuse their power.

Of course, the fear then leads to anxiety, for nobody can say for certain what the future holds. I feel anxious for not knowing what trials lay before me, or whether I will rise to the occasion or shrink from it. I get anxious about what course to take, and what the consequences may be. What will become of me and all I have worked for? Most especially, what will be the effects on my family? The thought that my family could suffer for my actions, or my inaction, weighs heavily upon me; thinking of the terrible possibilities is no small source of anguish.

Then I think of those events some two and a quarter centuries ago, and I begin to feel excited, because history is giving us the opportunity to live up to our birthright. Excited, that we have the chance to prove we are worthy of the blessings of Liberty. Excited, for if enough of us yell "Stop! You are through taking our freedoms; we are taking them back!," it can be done without having to first hit bottom. Excited, because we can make history and once again "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" without having to go through the same kind of Hell our forefathers endured. Excited, because we can prevail. We WILL Prevail.

Knowing the stakes, and what will be regained, has led to resolve. Resolve, because failure is not an option. Resolve, because I cannot sit idly and let our freedoms erode. Resolve, for I cannot expect others to do that which is the duty of everyone who wishes to be a Free Individual. Resolve, that I will not quietly wait for my children to grow old enough to understand and then let them begin the struggle. How can I expect that of them, if I do not demand it of myself?

Therefore, be it Resolved, that I am a Free Man - I will not be forced, stepped on, stamped, labeled, numbered, filed, defiled, chained, hobbled, bought, sold, compromised, or silenced. Over my own mind and body, I am Sovereign. I will work to plant the seeds of Liberty into fertile hearts, and nurture those where it has taken root. I will do my best to stymie the designs of those who think of people only as tools to be used, abused, and discarded. I will oppose collectivism in all its forms and proclaim the supremacy of the individual. I will not hate, for hate clouds the mind and corrupts the soul, leading one to become indistinguishable from the evil he opposes. I will be an ally to all who love and understand Liberty, without regard to what they look like, where they came from, how they worship, or who they sleep with. In all things, I will conduct myself honorably, because Liberty without Honor, like Freedom without Virtue, is impossible. 

I will deserve to be called an American.