A lot of my conversations lately have been about the word freedom and how we all come to different understandings of the word. Our individual right to “live in freedom” is debated daily in the news. It doesn’t matter if you get news from social media, TV or radio. There are those who continue to believe that their individual rights trump the rights of other Americans.
It creates an impossible situation for all of us. This division permeates all aspects of community life. Friends and family with different political views put on their blinders. They start with their own version of insults and intimidation. Some of us react instantly and engage, because after all, that’s what we expect. There is no way that community collaboration to resolve disagreements can take place once this has started. We all have our own triggers and have become particularly vulnerable to choosing sides when someone or something near and dear to our hearts is threatened,
In my last column, I mentioned a trigger for me recently. It was the increasing abuse of our public spaces, especially our parks in the rural and urban parts of our state. As a long-time enthusiast of the outdoors, hiking, cross-country skiing and backpacking, the word “freedom” to regulate or use our public lands has entered almost every public decision-making meeting. It didn’t take long for the discussions to turn into debates and then into all-out brawls. This was part of the reason why violence formed in so many public places. The glove that I found myself running every once in a while in my own daily life, no matter how hard I held my own opinion, made me feel compelled to respond.
So many people like me who were personally affected by the pandemic were suddenly no longer moderate. It didn’t matter whether they or a loved one fell with Covid-19, cared for a vulnerable family member, lost their job, or had to learn to navigate. a completely different world. We can all continue to be angry.
This need for everyone to feel it is okay to succumb to street fights and to utter their own battle cry is going nowhere. Those of us who retired from the mad rush, but took care of other ways than a full-time job or raising families, soon found ourselves forced to change our daily schedules. We had learned to stay home and were just trying to survive.
The public spaces of all of our communities have been greatly affected, as even the smallest communities face increasing costs and other onerous demands related to the maintenance of these spaces. I admitted in this column last week that I’m tired and irritable with these people throwing out those words “I live free” to excuse all kinds of bad behavior. My own resentment has built up and I either tell people when I meet them or write down my frustration. As I often say in these difficult times, I’m tired of being labeled and struggling with the constant implication that I don’t appreciate my freedom. Having said that, I prefer to lose all the freedoms that are guaranteed to me by the Constitution, as someone else interprets it.
I firmly believe that the people we choose to represent us perform their duties with dedication and competence. I was raised to act with my vote and have realized over the years that not all of us are so fortunate. Nowadays, there does not seem to be a place for moderation of any kind, as this toxic political arena has infiltrated all aspects of our public life.
Surprisingly, our commonalities are quite obvious. Our political divisions have not been able to dismantle our democratic practices. Incendiary political signs, slogans and bumper stickers only serve as fuel for these violent eruptions… Those who publicly and visibly claim all of our inalienable rights are sure that they will influence everyone and their particular view of what is happening. happens in our country will prevail.
There are still those of us who urge everyone to take a cold pill, so to speak. Mom, apple pie and the American flag is still going strong.
By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special for the Herald Times