Monday, July 04, 2005

Freedom, Ideals, and Reality

Happy Independence Day to all who happen to wander through here.

I know that most of us are busy today. Whether you are preparing to host a traditional barbeque like we are here in Utah or simply getting out to enjoy the holiday, or, heaven forbid, you have to work, the Fourth is one of those holidays that seem to require more than just getting up in the morning to get the full measure of the day.

This is my favorite day of the year. For public days at least...

We have been cleaning since seven o'clock this morning. The meat has been prepped, the front of the house is presentable, even if not ready for a photo shoot to appear in Martha Stuart living. I mowed then watered the lawns and as soon as they dry out I'll put up the canopy. The Weber, the Aussie, and the two Dutch ovens are set. When I finish this post I'll light 'em up. The four varieties of ribs will go on or in a half hour later. Chow will commence at three this afternoon if everything comes up on schedule.

My daughters are dervishes; they are keeping ahead of the wife and I where "squaring away" is concerned.

Our cannon sits on the lawn next to the driveway. The colors are posted behind it.

I've always set them up the same way for Independence Day. I don't think I'm consciously sending any message by doing things this way... but it is true that there are some things that must be defended, and things that WE will defend. Draw what meaning you will from the display. It keeps the kids from messing with the back of the cannon and puts the colors out of the way of casual traffic.

I said that we started getting ready at seven. Of course I made a few minutes to hit my favorite blogs and news sources with my second cup of coffee. Amongst the news of the world and some very uplifting blog posts I was saddened to see that Kim DuToit has elected to step off the firing step for the next little bit.

I can sympathize with him. He founded and has led the Nation of Riflemen in an unceasing and unambiguous campaign supporting the struggle to protect our freedoms both home and far abroad. He puts a tremendous amount of effort into his blog at the same time he is pursuing a business start up and writing career.

He is frustrated and depressed. He has posted a long list of undeniable facts and events that do stand, singly or in total, as direct threats to our freedoms as citizens. Take a look:

" * Real ID, passed by the House of Representatives, which effectively tags us and brands us, for the benefit of the State
* Kelo vs. New London, where the Supreme Court decided that it was just okay-dokey for local government to seize private property and hand it over to another private party
* The Transportation Security Agency and its heavy-handed, PC behavior at airports—where you can be arrested for protesting against rules and regulations which you are not allowed to see for yourself
* The War on Drugs, with seizure of private property and “no-knock” search warrants
* The so-called “Patriot” Act, which allows law enforcement to snoop around our personal papers, affairs and letters without a warrant
* A tax system which taxes wages and profits, and our property, the services we provide, and the goods we buy
* A President indicates that he would sign a continuation of a firearms ban, which bans firearms for cosmetic reasons, and which ban has been proven to be ineffectual in terms of lowering crime rates
* A government which does not defend our borders from wholesale incursion for foreign nationals
* A proposed Constitutional amendment which would outlaw the burning of a symbol
* Congressmen get an automatic pay increase each year, unless they specifically vote against it
* The FEC announces that political speech, like mine, may fall afoul of the un-Constitutional McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act.

ItÂ’s not just one thing, itÂ’s never just one thing: each one of the above is bad, in and of itself. All of them combined have become intolerable.

If you aren't familiar with Kim, you should know that he emigrated here from South Africa. He knows what the absence of freedom is at a level that most of us are simply incapable of understanding.

"This is not the America to which I came twenty years ago, and of which I so joyfully became a citizen soon after. The dream is over, the promise has been broken."

And on that I disagree. Freedom... the freedom that we seek to enjoy, protect, and defend, is an ideal that has eluded men for centuries. We do not live in the end times for American Democracy. Not as long as citizens can be heard through the ballot. Not as long as good citizens stand and the better ideas rise to the top in the arena of politics.

Even in the face of recent and truly horrifying acts against the fondations of our republic - such as CFR, the politicization of the judiciary, the Kelo decision, the latest idiotic run at an anti flag burning amendment- the fight is not near lost.

When Kim arrived here Democrats ran both houses of Congress. Tax rates, welfare rolls, and concentrated attacks on the second amendment were threatening to destroy our economy, society, and a key component of the Bill of Rights.

Today we prosper as a nation - matter of fact, we are the only industrial power not facing recession right at the moment. Welfare reform has not only forced people back into the workplace, it has more importantly removed one of the most egregious tools by which statist politicians control populations. And were the Second Amendment is concerned, Americans have been steadily enacting concealed carry, victim shield, and manufacturer protection laws for years.

If today is not the America that he dreams of, then just possibly it can become his dream tomorrow. I know that that belief is all that keeps me going some days. Whether it is good enough for anyone else I just flat don't know.

But there is much still to be done. Kim wrote that post at one a.m. last night; a time not normally associated with high spirits. I do not judge his action - he is FREE to bear what load he chooses.

I do know that if he steps down off the firing step today... if he must unload, clear, and lock, and come away from his spot on the line for a spell that he will not go far. It is not in the nature of a true patriot to accept defeat. And I know that there will be others that step forward, or close up, to fill the gap as best as can be done until such time as he is ready to come forward again.

Today, the Team will celebrate with burned meat, gunsmoke, and the company of good friends. We will be joyful, and we will be grateful, and we will honor those that founded this grand experiment and those that have paid to get us to this troubling point in history. And we resolve that this day will not be the last we celebrate our freedoms, nor the first we dare take them for granted.

We wish you all the very best this Independence Day. Warts and all.

UPDATE 1430 4 July: I need to make one thing REAL CLEAR: I am not condemning Kim DuToit's decision to step back for a bit. Not nearly. I don't come close to having the chops to make a call like that and wouldn't presume to if I did.

I just wanted to point out that I don't think we have lost. Not yet - and not nearly.

Mrs. DuToit has posted some vital background information on just what they have been through recently - and just how blogging and their exercise of freedom of expression figures into the mix. I understand even more now why they are both discouraged. Who wouldn't be?

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