Happy Veterans Day! We are so blessed to live in America, and to have brave military men and women who risk their lives to preserve our precious freedoms.
Remember that we also have the freedom to read what we want, to write as we please, to complain, to criticize leaders when they fail us, to cheer for underdogs, to enjoy a safe, civil, peaceful transition of power, and to vote as our intelligence, personal choice, and conscience directs.
Not everyone in the world can do that. We live in a big, wonderful country. It has flaws, of course. It is far from perfect. I am saddened by the divisions rocking our nation, but even when our citizens are stressed, out of work, burdened, and unsure of what to do there is always a chance, always the potential to change, always a new path to seek.
I have seen divisions before and I have seen riots before and I have seen racial discord before. But despite them, Americans have held together. I hope we’ll continue to do so, recognizing that we have the hard-won right and privilege to change what we don’t like and to always dream as big as we dare.
Let us keep our common sense and beware of anyone–rich or poor, celebrity, politician, civic leader, or little guy–seeking to diminish America, to make it small, to persuade us that democracy is wrong, to tell us what to think, to muzzle our opinions, to force us to conform to a small, gray, vision of less, to shame us into feeling guilty for the privileges we enjoy, or–worse–to throw them away without understanding the consequences of doing so.
And those freedoms are due to our founding fathers, who risked their lives to create America, a nation like no other. Our freedoms did not come without a heavy price, and we should never hold them cheap. When Patrick Henry proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death,” he wasn’t just spouting political rhetoric like some bombastic modern-day congressman. Henry knew if the American Revolution failed, he would be executed for treason along with men such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. Every member of the Continental Congress that voted to rebel against King George III knew his vote would put a price on his head.
Today we vote, knowing that we can do so without fear of reprisal, without fear of being executed by a tyrant. Thanks to the first American army and the courage of so many, we vote freely today–unless we cow to anyone who dares to dictate otherwise. And if our choice does not win, we should remember we will have another chance, another election in the future.
We do not listen to propaganda that makes us fearful and timid. We do not throw away our judgment and common sense to blindly follow a celebrity’s personal views. We do not bow to tyranny. We do not set some individuals above the law while punishing others. We do not live by mob rule or damage our neighbors and fellow Americans that disagree with us.
And we do not forget our veterans and what each of us owes them for their brave service that keeps us free.