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From the West

By Andrew Hawes — Sr. Warden

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of July is always the celebration of our nation’s Independence. 

The “picnic and fireworks” holiday, for many of us – the celebration of our declaration of freedom from foreign taxation, and our insistence on being free to make our own choices, regardless of consequence.  

Freedom is something that most Americans claim that they want- and have - but it’s a relative thing. The freedom to speak our mind? Of course! …but not the freedom to yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater, or to plan a terrorist attack. There are, and should be, limits imposed on this freedom, like most of our freedoms, for what most of us will agree is good reason. 

I think it’s important to keep in mind that our “freedoms” are things which we are promised by our Constitution and laws, and are only ours if our government leaders continue to protect them for us.

This is the same government that took over 100 years to decide that it was acceptable for women to vote in elections.  Were they free and independent during that time, while lacking the voice to change the laws that directly affect our lives? 

We need laws, to provide order and security in our lives, but its important that we don’t think of the government as an all-powerful and untouchable entity – it is a government that should be OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people and not one that RULES the people.  

Anyone who meets three simple criteria can run for president in this country– if they are a natural-born citizen, at least 35 years old, and have lived in the US for at least 14 years, they are eligible. Ironically, women were allowed to run for President from the founding of this country, even before they could vote for themselves.  

Did you know there were over 1200 people who filed to run for president in the most recent elections of 2020? How many of them can you name? Have you heard of Howie Hawkins, or Jo Jorgensen? They both appeared on enough state ballots to theoretically win a majority in the Electoral College, making them “notable candidates” in the 2020 election –Jorgensen earned over 1.8 million votes! 

So, remember this July, that as a nation, we struggled to throw off the yoke of what we then viewed as intolerable tyranny- and eventually succeeded in doing so. Celebrate that victory, by all means - but remember to keep yourself educated on how our government runs, and pay attention to the things being planned by our leadership, as the decisions that they make will impact us all.  If you dont like something that you hear about being propsed as law, don’t forget to exercise your first amendment rights to “petition the government for a redress of grievances” and write to or call your senator or representatives!  

The yoke of tyranny is one that is rarely forced upon a population. It is usually willingly donned

by those who wear it, gradually slipped on over shoulders that slump ever lower under its weight – and the great thing about this country, is that these days, we have the freedom to change this, WITHOUT revolution.

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