Shape-Shifting the Voices for Democracy

Deteriorating House, Ken Kistler

When I look at this photo, what comes to my mind is lost hope and sadness. Like an abandoned house left to deteriorate in the scorching arid heat with no protection to give it life and sustenance, we too could find our way of life, freedom, and liberty resulting in the same way, oblivious to the warning signs that democracy is gradually being castrated.

Paralyzing education, distorting information, flaming the fires of division and hatred, while losing hope as democracy is being castrated by propaganda that is flamboyant, untrue, and dangerous is easily being embraced by their supporters. The attacks on democracy, whether one wants to admit it or not, is not always advertised but happens in plain sight as it shape-shifts into an edible, acceptable disguise. Be alert, for deception is prevalent and growing by leaps and bounds.

Bribery, George Hodan

There are far too many conversations, worries, and anxieties being discussed about the manner in which the simple and sacred elements of humanity are being stripped away like peeling the husk from an ear of corn. Demagoguery is taking place in unprecedented degrees. So many are blind to the mass destruction such propaganda incites, and they eat up extremist entrées like ravenous wolves. Don’t walk around with eyes wide shut. Open your eyes and see what’s really going on here.

Is this discussion much ado about nothing? Absolutely not! As the voices of the cheerleaders of division raise their volume louder trying to distract and cancel out the advocates of unity, justice, democracy, experience, and love, advocates can’t be tinkling wind chimes but must toll louder than the Liberty Bell.

The sad part about it is, on the heels of Independence Day, their loudness and obnoxiousness must not Dawn Hudson, Democracybe ignored because many are listening and ignorantly repeating misinformation. Those tables must be flipped for truth cannot be erased. The truth, however, is being manipulated and turned into something that appears believable, trustworthy, patriotic, and just.

For those who constantly express their worriation about the future, your fear is justifiable based on what’s occurring in our political, religious, educational, global, and commerce sectors. Lies attempt to erase the truth, but it’s not the lie that will catch up with the liar, the truth always exposes the lie sooner than later. Dire consequences, whether we live to see it or not, will convict the oppressors even though it could come at a cost for hard-working, honest, ethical and decent human beings. Our voices of truth, justice, freedom, and equality must rise higher than the listening skies, and resound louder than the roaring seas. We cannot become complacent and watch democracy shape-shift into the skeleton of a dilapidated old house. Now is not the time to roll over and play dead, because playtime is over!

What Would You Risk for the Sake of Freedom?

Petr Kratochvil, Statue of Liberty

Running for your life is the cry and urgency coming from those fleeing conditions of torment, execution, massacres, rape, and downright murder. We lose our sense of humanity when we quantify the lives of others instead of qualifying the value they bring and contribute to our world.

As we approach Independence Day, the fourth of July, we see images of the iconic Statue of Liberty located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor splashed everywhere. When I listen to stories from immigrants who escaped some of the most horrific and deadliest of circumstances imaginable, I am brought to tears when they speak fondly of the opportunity to begin a new life as the ship they are aboard passes by Lady Liberty, a symbol of freedom, and they embark on the shores of New York. Most of these individuals barely escaped the ills of death marches, being viciously separated from their families, watching loved ones being murdered in cold-blood by hardened hearts or sent to an incinerator by orders from ruthless and narcissistic dictators.

Petr Kratochvil, Statue Of Liberty

Perhaps when we look at the image or the actual Statue of Liberty, may each citizen of this country remember what she represents. This copper sculpture was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States of America. In her right hand, she extends her arm upward while holding a torch and in her left hand she carries a tabula ansata (a tablet with dovetail handles) inscribed in Roman numerals the date of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain and shackle lay at her feet, commemorating the national abolition of slavery. 

We must maintain a moral center and never lose our sense of compassion, for if we do, we lose ourselves in a monument of nothingness, or like raging animals in the wilderness, we are aimless, without end. Try visualizing yourself and your family in their predicament. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel and what would you do? When people begin to villanize victims, with a cut and dry “them versus us” attitude they are actually fighting the enemy within, an enemy that will inevitably enslave them.

So, as we look at the Statue of Liberty let us be reminded of what she represents and what true freedom and independence are. Just because we have freedom does not guarantee that it is infinite or that you should be entitled to it without humility and gratitude. If you and your family were suddenly plucked from a life of opportunity and freedom into the pits of extreme abuse and slavery, how far would you go to protect them and how much would you sacrifice for a better and more peaceful life for them?

How Much Will Freedom Cost You?

Freedom, Claudette Gallant

What is the price for freedom some may ask? Does money buy freedom or is it a right we were born to have?

Are we ever truly free? While we may not be shackled by the chains of physical bondage as thousands of people endured as recipients of whip-stabbing scars by a persecuting tormentor, there are other freedom stealers that come in a guise of friendliness and trustworthiness. We face greater danger of losing our freedom by accepting ignorance as the norm or turning a blind eye to avoid speaking up and speaking out against horrific injustices. Spiritually, mentally, financially and educationally we become entangled and unaware of how we got to this place of pseudo-freedom or freedom entrapment.

Oftentimes, we never even realize how our freedom was lost by our lackadaisicalness and careless distractions. When we get to that belief that someone else’s problem is none of our concern, it behooves us to rethink our position on that because sooner or later, their problem will become our bigger problem.

Of course, freedom should not be a privilege that we can be reckless with because it could very well end up as a piece of driftwood in a landfill. We cannot afford to be idle because it’s just too costly.

Freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Spirit of the 4th of July, Independence Day

Independence Day, 4th of July

Image Credit: George Hodan

With Liberty and Justice for All

May we be reminded to never take our freedoms for granted. Never!

Happy Independence Day in the USA!

Independence Day, 4th of July

Image Credit: Jean Beaufort

4th of July, Independence Day

Image Credit: Kai Stachowiak

Independence Day, July 4th

Image Credit: Peter Griffin

July 4th, Grilling, Cookout

Image Credit: Alex Borland

Independence Day, USA, America

Image Credit: Linnaea Mallette

4th of July, Independence Day

Image Credit: Karen Arnold

With Liberty and Justice for All?

Liberty, Statue of Liberty, Democracy, Justice

Is democracy in our country really under siege? Are we truly paying attention to how the freedoms we gallantly sing about are slipping through our hands like water? Is there a diabolical motive undermining our current state of independence, creeping up on us, and going unnoticed?

It was so disheartening to read and hear about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to purge people who haven’t voted in the past two years. They refer to it as “Use It or Lose it.” It’s only been 53 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

An attack on a law designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution leaves one to question how soon other amendments will be compromised as well.

Liberty, Democracy, Justice

There has been much concern about outside forces tampering with the foundation of our democracy, but what about inside conspirators, breaking down the code of ethics that once stood for something real and promising, for the good of all people and not a select few?

Who can you trust to tell you the truth or genuinely try to protect “We the People” anymore? So much is at stake and many wonder if anyone is bothering to pay attention to adhering to good ethics or even showing more compassion anymore. Liberty and justice for all? Do we really have to question this again? 😦

Juneteenth: Emancipation for Humanity

Slavery, Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham , Juneteenth

Image Source: North Amarillo Now

Slavery has remained one of the darkest clouds in the history of the United States and in many parts of the world. Slaves were not even considered people, but property like cattle. The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. This proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states (more than 3 million enslaved people in designated areas of the South) “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the day Union General Gordon Granger along with 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas (a rebellious state) to take possession of the state in order to enforce the emancipation of its slaves.

I always wondered whether the last line of the poem, Defence of Fort M’Henry written in 1814 by poet Francis Scott Key, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave (better known in our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner) had any significance behind the writing and execution of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863? There are many resources for learning about the historical influences behind Juneteenth. You can find out more about this holiday and how it is celebrated 152 years later around the country, by visiting Juneteenth.com.

Happy Juneteenth!