The Rock and the River: Freedom's Slow Erosion
Hello again ATS.
A few weeks back I posted a meme onto my Facebook page. Being that I am subscribed to quite a number of political feeds, it is a fact that most of the
things I tend to share are political in nature. This particular meme asserted that Americans have lost rights over the past several decades and that
it is time for We The People to take them back.
It also happens that many of my Facebook friends are also ATS members. One of these particular dual site friends, who works for the Government, got
rather incensed that I posted this particular meme and insisted that Americans have not lost any freedoms at all – and went on to further her
Though I disagreed with what she said, I refrained from replying. This particular person is a good friend and I had no desire to fight and lose that
But the whole event did get me thinking and started a bit of a fire in my soul because the truth of the matter is that we have lost rights over the
. In fact just in the past two years I lost one of my rights without even knowing it happened
. To be specific, I lost my Second
Amendment rights because I had a diagnosis of Bipolar type 1. The fact that I am nearly fifty and have no criminal record is not even a consideration
in this matter. I am simply not allowed to own a handgun in many states. The state I happen to live in is a bit more generous, they only prohibit me
from owning a weapon for five years – provided I were to stop treatment and live in denial – sucking it all up and pretending to be NOT Bipolar.
But it goes much deeper than that and I began to think about the things that my parents, Grandparent ( Sadly I was born with only one living
Grandparent – the other three had died long before my birth ), and Aunts and Uncles had told me about the “good old days”. Things I had written
off, as a youthful person because... Well because all youthful people write off the “back in the day” stories that our elders subject us to. When
we are young we tend to be overly idealistic and stupendously lost in the notion that we know it all and that our generation is the only one that gets
As an older man now, with my own kids telling me how out of it and uneducated they think I am – and how they are above it all – those voices from
my past have come back to haunt me and to educate me as well.
Not too many years back I worked for a company that did an annual audit and found a moderate hole in the amount of cash that should have been there.
The auditor wrote it off, saying “This happens every year, it's nothing new and has been going on for as long as I've been working here – and I've
been here quite awhile”. Fortunately ( for the company ) a new CFO had come on-board and he didn't at all want to accept the “business as usual”
mind set over the missing funds. So he went digging.
It turns out that a low level accountant had, for years and years, been siphoning off a little bit here and a little bit there into a company that did
nothing and that, as it turns out, she owned. She never got greedy. She never went for a big hit. Just a few hundred or a couple of grand here and
there. Drops in a bucket, compared to the amount of money my previous employer was making – drops that eventually added up to a small fortune in
She used the concept of erosion to hide her theft. Like river water running past a rock – she simply scraped off a layer every so often, small
enough that the people in charge of watching said rock never noticed a physical difference.
I put if forth that the same is being done with our rights, our culture, and our society. I put it forth that the old folks who tell us about how it
was back in the day are sincerely warning us and lamenting the changes that they, with their own eyes, have seen. Living testimonials to the change.
Witnesses who will die off unsung and unheard.
How many generations has this river of slight change been flowing past the rock we call Freedom? How many little layers have been stripped away so
slowly that it takes a lifetime just to begin to recognize what is happening?
This concept led me to take time trying to remember if any news stories, over the course of my life, lent any credence to my theory. Several examples
jumped straight to mind:
I can remember when gardening in ones yard was legal.
I can remember when police roadblocks only occurred when some extreme event led to an area having to be sealed off.
I can remember going to the pharmacy and filling prescriptions without ninety levels of scrutiny being placed upon me.
I can remember the PTA being the driving force of local schools and them not being the private fiefdoms of Superintendents and Principles who seem
oblivious to all things reality based.
I can remember a society that had zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies
More and more come flooding to mind, but I think the few above are a fair representation of the proposition I am making here.
We are less free than were our parents and our children shall be less free than we are today. No generation will really feel the change because each
generation is only shouldering or experiencing a small percentage of the change during their own lifespans. Sure, there are spasms that cause a
particular generation to experience a larger hit than others. Our current “War on ______” ( everything? ) policies are an example. I was born
before we became a society that declared war on things and ideas – but my children were not. For them it is normal. For them it makes sense.
Similarly if my Grandfather were to have been told that he could not own any variety of gun, period – he would have gone ballistic. And so would
have his peers ( Before anyone interjects dates – my Grandfather was born in the 1880's – long before Elliot Ness and company outlawed “Tommy
Exactly how much of this gradual change can occur before what is has nothing at all to do, any longer, with what was
. When do the drops in the
bucket become so extreme and profound that they redefine the original concept?
Have we already crossed that line? Are we living in the America that the Framers dreamed of? Are we even in the same neighborhood as what was
At what point do we cross the Rubicon and cease to be what we believe ourselves to be?
It is my hope that this OP might initiate a conversation that avoids the perils and pitfalls of partisanship and the typical back and forth that comes
with such. Red, Blue, Green, or simply along for the ride, the fact of the matter is that we are all on the same ship – and I believe that ship to
be fast sinking and taking on water far too rapidly for us to waste time arguing on deck about who caused the leak. It's time we all grabbed a bucket
and started bailing, lest we all drown together.
Do we give ourselves to the current, still clinging at each others throats seeking to assign blame – drowning for lack of an ability to overcome our
pride and our programming - or do we help one another to the shoreline to seek out that rock that we call Freedom and work together to restore it to
it's rightful and original state?
What say you ATS? Am I still just a dreamer and liberal idealist, or is there a chance?
As always, thanks for reading.
edit on 10/29/14 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)