My constitutional rights.
We hear it often when people are demonstrating. They are angry that their rights have been abused or trampled on.
People who don’t fight for their rights tend to lose them.
But I did a little research to see just what those rights were. I found that there is a pretty extensive list of our constitutional rights.
But not all the rights that we hear people shouting “That’s my right!” were listed. We’ve made some pretty liberal jumps in assuming what we actually do and do not have as a constitutional right.
On the same document of constitutional rights, I found it interesting that there was also a list of duties. These rights we keep shouting about don’t come alone; they are accompanied by responsibilities.
In the United States, we believe that we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have translated that to mean that everyone has the right to the good life that comes with the American dream.
But so many want it without the responsibilities of a free society that would make that dream possible.
There is always a price to be paid for services, protection, and goods that we receive. Someone, somewhere has to pay for it, whether it is monetarily, or through time and energy, or through sacrifice on the battlefield.
Nothing in a free society is free.
That means that someone, somewhere is paying the price.
So why are there those who are willing to pay the price through being more concerned with the societal responsibilities than the individual rights?
Look at what happened in the United States during and after World War II. All through the war those at home sacrificed and went without and volunteered and felt the effects of the war. Everyone suffered. Those at home certainly did not suffer like those on the battlefield. But still, their lives were changed. Some of the things taken for granted during the prosperous times were nowhere to be found.
People understood that what was good for the whole also benefited each as an individual. They went without and worked and gave so that those coming after would not have to.
Now, however, it would be possible for the vast majority of America to not even be aware that a war is being fought somewhere. It doesn’t change their lives, or even standard of living.
Because they seem to think that it’s someone else’s problem.
However, those same people will be first to shout to others to not even think about trying to step on their rights. Besides, someone else will solve the larger problem of those around the world who want to do just that, take away our rights.
Don’t we understand that there really are those around the world who would take every right away from us if they could? And not just our incredibly high standard of living, but our basic human rights.
But we act as if we aren’t willing to be uncomfortable while the battle is being waged.
Isn’t that the issue in Europe right now? Russia could be brought to its knees quickly through economic sanctions rather than people losing their lives in war.
There may even be some people here who could be affected.
So we call our representatives and tell them we don’t want it done that way.
And instead of the majority of those representatives being leaders, who have access to information we don’t and should be able to make the hard decisions that are in the best interest of the country, instead they topple to public pressure.
After all, the most important thing is not to solve the problems, but to get reelected.
It really feels like we aren’t that worried about society as a whole any more. We are more focused on our individual lives and privileges.
But the joke is on us.
By focusing on our individual rights and not our responsibilities to society, we will end up losing more and more of our individual rights through a less and less free society.
So, are we paying the price today?
Or are we content to let it be someone else’s problem?
Pretty soon, one way or another, it will become our problem.
Let’s just hope it isn’t too late.