Earlier this week, Americans celebrated Memorial Day, one of a string of patriotic holidays we observe each year along now.
Starting the third Saturday of May with Armed Forces Day – a salute to our men and women in uniform -- we, in rapid succession, pay our respects to those who have given their lives in the service of our nation on the last Monday in May; then commemorate the Stars and Stripes on June 14th; culminating with Independence Day on July 4th, celebrating the birth of our nation.
Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day, all squashed together in a period of six or seven weeks, give us each ample occasion to ponder the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
But there are two other occurrences during the same time frame that I believe also help us define the concept of freedom.
First is the end of the school year… and the end of the school year, to millions of kids across the land, is the very essence of “freedom”.
When I flash back to my own childhood, I can almost taste the joy and excitement I felt on that final day of school each year. I had endured the authoritarian drudgery of 180 days of being told exactly what to do and exactly when to do it… under penalty of severe punishment, such as sitting in the corner, or a trip to the principal’s office. Could living under a Communist regime possibly have been any worse?!!
But now, I was FREE for three whole, entire months. Free to do as I please without classes, without bells controlling my schedule, without homework!!! I was free to wear cutoffs and old T-shirts, free to go barefoot during the day, free to get on my bicycle first thing in the morning and ride it all day long, pretty much anywhere I wanted to go.
Throughout the USA, the next generation of Americans is getting this annual treat of “freedom”, a concept many of them will decide later in life is worth standing up for, even fighting for!
The other occurrence we here in The Palmetto State witness each year along now is the end of the state’s legislative session. By law, the House and Senate must adjourn “Sine Die” no later than the first Thursday in June. (“Sine Die” is Latin, meaning “we ain’t coming back”.) This year, to save money during the recession, they adjourned a couple of weeks earlier than required.
The adjournment of ANY legislative body – House or Senate, State or Congress, or even local bodies such as city and county councils – is a great day for the cause of FREEDOM.
Because… when they’re not in session, they can’t make any more laws taking our freedom away!!!
While the daily news media has been critical of the recent legislative session, I have a very different view. This year’s state legislative session, in my humble opinion, was the most successful in my memory. They passed virtually no new laws this year… and to freedom-loving citizens, that’s a good thing.
To put it in the proper perspective, you should always remember this little axiom of government, which I learned many years ago:
“Every time a new law is passed, somebody loses a little more of their freedom”.
Laws, you know, are generally designed to tell us what we cannot do, not what we can do. We have a constitution which guarantees us certain freedoms, and we are presumed to be free to pursue any dream we may have…unless our dream has been restricted by the passage of some federal, state, or local law.
Since convening in January, the state legislature was successful in passing one major law – the annual state budget, which is needed, despite the fact that it takes away the freedom of the citizens to spend their some of their own money as they see fit.
Others may chide the General Assembly for their lack of action. I applaud them for it. Our freedoms are safe for another year.
And now, just like the schoolkids across the land, I plan to go out this summer and enjoy as much freedom as I can!