We have always known that your freedom was defined by where on this planet you were fortunate or unfortunate to have been born, if you were born in America – you were free, if you were born in a communist country – you were not free.
Is that really still the case? And is everyone in America actually free no matter where in America they are born? Do state lines matter as much as race, religion or wealth as far as freedoms are considered? Are the same rights enjoyed by all regardless of race, religion or wealth?
And what is it that actually defines you as a person?
Does Race Define You?
In America, it shouldn’t, but it still does, and it isn’t always how you think it does either. Race relations are at the lowest point in the past forty years and that was somewhat unexpected. Many expected that with the first black President and Attorney General, race would no longer be an issue, but it is now more of an issue than ever.
Not only have the people in charge done less for minority communities than most in power before them, there has been a fanning of the flames in many respects that has created an us versus them attitude between the races. The racism card is played more often these days than a Monopoly board game, and it usually isn’t played with the any sense of fairness or judgement.
I had a black friend tell me that white people could not be victims of racism because of all the past years that white people used their power to oppress and/or kill people of color. I’m paraphrasing here because it was much more involved than that, but he was serious that even though no white person he knew was enslaving, oppressing or killing black people in this day, that somehow the actions of people we didn’t know or were responsible for, cost current white people the ability to be victims of racism.
racism ˈrāˌsizəm/ noun – the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
After showing him the actual definition, he still didn’t get that he was actually being a racist. He didn’t think it was possible since it was he who had grown up being a victim of it, not I. He agreed when I said that we both didn’t like the things that had been done to people of color in the past, that they had been mistreated by white people in both the distant and recent past and that there was a certain sense of accomplishment or superiority in having overcome that and yet not made others a victim of it as was done to them.
I then asked him to read the definition again.
We have a long way to go on this issue, it seems we have been set back at least 20 or 30 years and still have at least another 50 years to go before we judge people not on the color of their skin, but by what firearms they own, as it should be.
Does Religion Define You?
Most will say that it does, I will argue that it doesn’t. There are many that claim to be good Christians and yet are about as far from the teachings of Jesus as they come. There are people of all religions that are both good and bad, and it can sometimes be the Teacher/Pastor/Iman/Rabbi/etc. that leads their followers down a certain path and into the opposite of what was the original goal.
However, we all have the ability to judge for ourselves and decide right versus wrong, so is there really anyone else to blame if we stray from what is good and decent? There are atheists that are good people and those that are bad people, so religion cannot be all that defines us, how we treat others is what does.
Does Money Define You?
Of course it does, we all need money to live and the more money we have the more comforts we can purchase, so I will not even attempt to argue that point because it simply does. Money defines us in many ways, but I know plenty of people that have money and plenty that don’t and I must say the mix of jerks among them is pretty even.
Money can certainly buy a lot of things, but making you a better person it does not. I know rich people that wouldn’t lift a hand to help someone in need, but I know poor people that would give you the shirt off their back and vice versa.
So while money does represent a certain freedom, it does not make you a better person, just a person with more money, you must decide if you become a good person or not.
Do Invisible Lines Define Your Freedom?
Of course they do. Those lines on the maps of the world usually define our freedoms or lack thereof. In some cases, like East and West Germany, those lines were not always so invisible and depending on which side of that wall you were born on would determine exactly how free you were.
Country to country, across rivers and oceans, your freedoms can change and what you can do or have can change based on those invisible lines. Sadly, many will risk death to scale those walls or cross those rivers and oceans to gain the freedoms they seek, rather than fight for them at home.
While many original settlers sailed the ocean to settle the New World and build a new life, when their freedoms were at risk from the actions of their monarch, they fought for it rather than run away. It is usually easier and far less risky to run rather than fight, and we see that happening not just on a global scale, but here in America.
Those invisible lines defining the states define our lives in many ways, how much tax we pay, how our children are educated, what firearms we are allowed to own, etc.
Yes, a country that has a Constitution containing the Second Amendment, a right to bear arms, that shall not be infringed; has invisible lines defining how that right is infringed. Each state has its own Constitution and most contain some type of recognition or validation of our 2A rights, while some like California, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York have no mention of that right at all in their State Constitutions.
Those invisible lines not only define the number of legal restrictions, amount of fees required, but even define which weapons you can purchase, let alone if you can actually carry it to protect yourself. And some people will move to another state rather than fight for their rights even though those very same rules and laws may one day follow them.
Several states have “assault weapons” bans eliminating the ability to own semi-automatic sporting rifles that only look like their fully automatic military counterparts, California even has an approved handgun list that effectively bans most semi-auto pistols from its citizens. Moving around this “free country” with certain weapons could get you in a lot of trouble.
Actively carrying firearms for protection is also a sticky mess when dealing with those invisible lines, there is no federal right to carry even though the Constitution says the right to bear arms, shall not be infringed and that our country’s Constitution supersedes any State’s Constitution.
States like Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming allow concealed carry with no permit, but don’t dare cross those invisible lines while packing!
Other states will allow you to carry after obtaining a permit and paying them fees for the right to do so, but even then, you better watch those lines as well because some states will recognize that permit, and others will not.
Maybe someday we will have nationwide constitutional carry or at least a national carry permit, until then, watch out for those invisible lines.