Monday, February 14, 2005

Beating the wrong dead horse

Freedom, to most, is a basic value and right. The knowledge of freedom is not gained only by reading books, or sitting in a classroom. They are part of a whole learning experience that helps us evolve as free people.

There has always been debate about limits that should be applied to freedom for societal good. Limits on speeds on roads, limits on physical actions, and any number of others. The greatest divide right now is not between the left and the right. I feel deep down that the left and the right are a lot closer to each other then they would ever want to admit.

For me the divide is between two groups that can be labeled by the following two questions
Do we make the rules?
Do the rules make us?
While the questions on the surface look simple they, for me at least, show what separates and holds this nation in bondage.

Do the rules make us?
This is the nature of the Republican and Democrat party. A belief that the rules make us...

An example is affirmative action on the left. Martin Luther King Jr. in my humble view was a good man. He marched and put his life on the line for what he thought was right. He was beaten and jailed many times. Why? For freedom. I have always thought all of his speeches and sermons could be condensed down to two lines. The first is "Get the hell off our backs" and the second was "let us be the best that we can be". He never talked about reparation for civil war promises that I can find. He never talked about affirmative action. So here the civil rights movement defines my two statements of freedom.

Do we make the rules? These people decided the rules were wrong. They marched and they got the rules changed. Beaten and jailed they made the rules. They put their bodies and lives on the line because they knew that the rules made them second class citizens, so the rules needed to be changed.

Do the rules make us? These people see the civil rights movement and decide that they will pass laws to "make them". They pass laws and force people to hire minorities and they feel that they have brought up a group. With these laws they have "made us". They make rules that you have to give a certain amount of contracts to groups so they will be "made". They feel that a group will never do good until there is a law to make them "better and stronger".

Another fine example is gun control. Heck there might never be a better example of the separation between groups.

Do the rules make us? While the democratic party leads the fight many in the republican party are not far behind. Laws. Each and every one of them designed in the name of safety that limit us are prime signs that a group feels that the laws make you. "If we ban handguns there will be a lowering in crime". Laws like this are made to make us safe and act nice. No guns, no violence. We all then sit on a side of the hill with a bottle of coke and sing fucking kumbaya. As you know this has not happened. Debate aside on why they fall back on their basic belief that laws make us and guess what they do? They make more laws to "make us" safe.

Do we make the rules? This is a fine example of what has happened in the last decade in the 2nd amendment movement. People in states, many with no connections to the larger firearms groups like the NRA or GOA, have started to push for concealed carry. They decided that they make the rules. The people make the rules. So due to this in a lot many states we now have concealed carry. The whole fight shows the divide and gulf separating the two groups in this country. The fight against the AWB and its successful death shows the ability of the people to deliver a message that we will make the rules.

I could go on and show several other good examples of what the two groups believe but I just realized why I started to write this in the first place. A survey recently came out and it shows some frightening beliefs in the students of today.
Most American high school students lack a full understanding of the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a survey released yesterday said.

Seventy-five percent of 112,000 students surveyed said it is illegal to burn the American flag as a means of political protest, and nearly half believe that the government can censor the Internet

The survey found that 36 percent of the students believe that newspapers should not be allowed to publish without government approval of stories, and 17 percent of the students believe that the public is prohibited from expressing unpopular opinions.

Overall, the survey found that high school students express little appreciation for the First Amendment's tenets: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble and the right to petition the government.

Nearly three-quarters of student respondents said they either don't know how they feel about First Amendment freedoms or take them for granted.
I have read blog after blog with people bemoaning the fact that children are not being taught basic freedoms. I have to disagree and say I think that they are being taught freedoms. Maybe not the ones you like, but they are the ones the system likes.

Here is a small breakdown
illegal to burn the American flag as a means of political protest
The rules make us. The rules define us and how we can protest
nearly half believe that the government can censor the Internet
The rules make us. The rules define what we can see for our own good.
newspapers should not be allowed to publish without government approval of stories
The rules make us. The rules define what we should be allowed to know and report on
17 percent of the students believe that the public is prohibited from expressing unpopular opinions
The rules make us. If you start preaching views that are not liked there could be social unrest, and that will not be allowed.

The schools are run today by people who feel that zero tolerance is the best approach. The rules will make you safe. These are the people who are deciding the curriculum for your children and our future.

So who do I feel is most responsible for this survey? The parents for the most part. The ones who blindly drop their children off at school to spend most of the day being taught the rules the system likes by ones who like rules. Parents who do not get involved and help decide what the rules will be.

The system is based on rules made by people who feel rules make you. These rules teach your children that these magical rules will make them better and stronger. They are not taught that they make the rules and their own future without legal chains on their wrists.

Don't blame the system. It is doing exactly what it has been made to do. It is producing children who believe that rules make us better. Blame the ones who do not try to change it and follow it blindly. Blame the ones who did not tell about the sacrifices of other family members who went to war for freedom, or marched in the south for freedom. Right now if you honestly believe that we make the rules then you have to understand that the educational department is not your friend and may never be.

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