The post about frightened Americans, generated over 500 emails, 160 comments, and 35,000 visits.
Many of you asked for the context of the post and I will give it to you, but first I want to share what I learned from your response.
Except for a small minority, most respondents agreed that we are indeed losing our freedom and that few people stand up and challenge authority.
But what is far more surprising is that the post resonated across political lines. Many people of different political classifications responded – Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Capitalists, Environmentalists, Socialists, Communists, and Fascists.
While almost everyone lamented our loss of freedom and the apparent cowardice in the face of oppression, the most interesting thing is whom we blame.
The Republicans blame the Democrats
The Democrats blame the Republicans
The Liberals blame the Conservatives
The Conservatives blame the Liberals
The Socialists blame the Capitalists
The Capitalists blame the Socialists
The Fascists blame the Socialists
The Socialists blame the Fascists
The Environmentalists blame the Capitalists
The Capitalists blame the Environmentalists
Can you accept the possibility that all of them are right? Imagine the implication of that. We are all trying to take each other’s freedom away because we have our own agenda, but the law of unintended consequences takes over, and we all lose our freedom. Is it possible for us (the human race) to stop trying to control others and become more accepting of one another?
You asked what inspired the post
1. A conversation about a victim of a botched no-knock police raid, her problems with PTSD, and how she has lost all trust in the system.
2. A story about K-9 police conducting a random sweep of our local public High School while the kids were in class. What really needled me was how they searched six lockers because they smelled like tobacco. When did we decide to violate a teenager’s civil rights because her locker smelled like tobacco? This is police state insanity. If we don’t speak out about these small violations, why do we believe we will have the courage to speak out about the big violations?
3. My office mates and I had a lunch conversation about the fun we had with Lawn Darts as children. Everybody at the table had played with them. Later I realized – our parents clearly saw that Lawn Darts were dangerous, but they trusted us and accepted the risk, something too many parents refuse to do today. Many parents believe they can eliminate risk without eliminating freedom. How will our children learn that responsibility is the cornerstone of freedom when we don’t trust them with real responsibility?
4. My recent immersion into the writings of Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Robert Pirsig, and Brad Warner reinforced just how insane our laws have become. Allan Watts talked about how young people in the 1960s were criticized for taking risks, but he countered the fear saying almost everything that is fun, creative, or worth doing is risky. Our attempts to eliminate risk result in more fear and paranoia not health and safety. Can’t we allow our young people to be brave explorers and stop conditioning them to be fearful automatons? Reading about and remembering the 60s, 70s, 80s, put our current situation into context. In daily life, the change seems subtle, but if you compare today to the past the loss of freedom is dramatic and it isn’t working – even with the recent growth in Minnesota’s prison population, people do not feel safer. As Nneka wrote at the Balanced Life Center, we can be safe and free. When will we realize that we need to be responsible and conscious if we are to have both?
You asked for details about the no-knock raid in which the police removed a school teacher from her home:
Our local paper reported the incident.
The article doesn’t have first hand accounts of the raid. I heard those while listening to people in the community. The repairmen told the police it was a misunderstanding before they entered the home, but the police still raided the home! There was no cause for the action and there was no recourse for the victim. It’s baffling.
I didn’t list the details about this event simply because I knew it would destroy the flow and readability of the original post.
With the recent events in Virginia, either we can sink deeper into fear or we can view this tragedy as an opportunity to stand up proud and free showing courage in the face of terror. I pray we do not overreact. Attempting to find a rational answer to this insanity is like arguing with a drunk. Our rational minds are wired to make sense of events. And as we try to make sense of senseless things, we will find there is no sensible reaction to madness. Reaction to madness usually leads to more madness. We could work toward eliminating madness, but is that possible? Isn’t that like working to eliminate the nighttime because we prefer the daytime?