I had a realization the other day, and thought I'd share it with my fellow Slashdotters.
I was watching one of the viral videos for McCain, by a former Army sergeant who lost his leg in Iraq. He was speaking to Obama, telling him why he wouldn't vote for him, and ended his message with the cliche that "freedom isn't free".
I beg to differ. Freedom is most certainly free. None of us are free because we are Americans; we aren't free because of the men and women who have risked their lives to safeguard our borders and national interests; and we certainly aren't free because of politicians who give rousing speeches before thousands.
We're free because we're human beings. We have an inherent freedom, built into the fabric of our beings and selves. It's not something that can be taken away or given by another. And it's something that all people, throughout the world and throughout time, have.
Yes, we are fortunate to live in a land where the laws recognize this freedom, at least for the most part. But don't ever think you owe your freedom to the actions of any person, or groups of people. They didn't make you free; you were free long before they made whatever sacrifices they may have made, and will remain free long after those sacrifices are forgotten.
The reason this is important to remember is, if we start thanking our servicemen and women "for their service", with the understanding that they somehow gave us our freedom, well, anyone who can give a thing, can take that thing away. We mustn't allow ourselves to fall into the trap of worshipping our military, or thinking that all we have in our lives comes from their beneficence. It's a very small step from that kind of thinking to giving up control of our lives and our liberties to men in uniform.
former IT1, USNR