WHAT THE U.S. WAS LIKE WHEN MEN WERE FREE
by Beverly Eakman
September 28, 2008
Last month I gave a speech which I concluded with this quote from the late President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and [passed] on…or we will spend our sunset years telling our…children's children what it was like in the United States [when] men were free.”
When I composed my speech, I thought the quotation was the perfect call-to-arms. Then, after the event was over, I started taking inventory, and realized, with a shock, that Baby Boomers were already telling their children’s children — the grandchildren—what it was like to get on an airplane with carry-on baggage and just sit down; what it was like to have friends and family greet us at the airline gate; what it was like to say the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer in school without a hassle or a lawsuit; what it was like to simply open a fresh bottle of spices, or aspirin or anything without having to first pry off frustrating layers of protective packaging; what it was like to speak our peace on controversial topics and not be court-ordered to mandatory counseling.
There are many more examples, of course — from surveillance cameras (ostensibly aimed at traffic-control, but really aimed at acclimating people to inevitable monitoring and tracking by agents of government); to invasive pat-downs and searches of purses or brief-cases, all without “probable cause”; arbitrary drug tests for employment or to obtain prescriptions from one’s doctor, again without “probable cause” and at the behest of the Drug Enforcement Agency; government land-grabs of private property without just compensation in order to fulfill its own purposes (e.g., the NAFTA Highway) or to secure higher taxes from some corporate conglomerate. Even bathroom tissue, purchased at the local grocery, has been limited to essentially one choice — the color white — because environmental extremist groups have claimed, without a shred of evidence, that colorful bath tissue is somehow universally harmful and causes pollution, too.
Some may recall how people went to a department store, bought a sweater or dress and didn’t have to try it on with a heavy thief-proof gadget bulging from the front, side or back. We didn’t have to make sure the salesclerk removed the offending gadget during checkout to avoid having to trek back to the store, receipt in hand, to have it removed. A few may remember how people who wanted to smoke or imbibe an alcoholic beverage could do so and still somehow manage to live into their 90’s with no obvious ill-effects to themselves or family members. And how about buying milk — much less buttermilk — at the grocery! If you don’t read the fine print on every label, you are apt to walk out with low-fat, reduced fat, or no fat, which is hard for many people to digest and tastes, well, yucky. People who wanted lower calorie foods could easily buy them without forcing the entire population to wade through long labels simply to obtain the “regular” or “original” option.
Only 30 years ago, one could go to the beach without exposing children to gross displays of hooker-chic and bawdy-house behaviors. A mother could stand in a checkout line at the grocery without responding to little Susie’s question about “10 sex positions that will really turn on your partner” on the magazine cover on the nearby stand. One could send a child to school without being intimidated into drugging a precocious child, or worrying about some kid who is drugged letting loose with a round of ammunition.
One could pop into a convenience store for a quick couple of grocery items and not lock your car. Speaking of locking the car, one did not see warnings plastered around parking lots admonishing people not to leave packages in plain sight, the implication being that it is the fault of the good citizen for leaving a visible package that is the root cause of burglary, rather than the fault of the criminal justice system and the schools, both having promoted leniency for miscreants these past 30 years, which has led us to a point where, polls tell us, Americans are willing to give up generous portions of their Constitutional freedoms simply to restore order.
How I wish I had a nickel for every security lock, key card and password I possess, or a dime for every hour of personal inconvenience I have endured by their necessity! How fondly I remember bicycle rides along nature’s trails, or through my own neighborhood, without the threat of a fine for omitting ridiculously confining, ugly helmets; free of the need for cell phones, stun guns, mace and, I suppose, the newer “taser” devices to fend off violent criminals with rap sheets as long as your arm. Like many Boomers, I have long since ceased to enjoy the bike, which now sits rusting in the garage. Not worth the trouble….
The humble dog is no more free that its master; it cannot run among the hills of the woods, follow children at play with their friends (and animals), lest local authorities slap a $500 fine on the owner.
While we subsidize and rebuild infrastructures for Middle Eastern terrorists, Third World AIDS and tsunami victims — all noble goals, but not accomplished with “the consent of the governed”— our own infrastructures in the towns and cities of the U.S. rot. Not a road or a building can be constructed without an expensive, time-consuming environmental-impact study. Then we wonder why prices are so high. Who pays for all this? The cost is passed to us.
What was life like in the United States when men were free? Well, first off, everyone knew that the term “men” was generic, meaning human beings of both sexes. Women were more respected, despite disadvantages in the workplace. While there were incidences of abuse and infidelity, certainly, profanity around women was generally taboo. Unlike today, most men tried to protect women from the gruesome and depraved. No wonder so many modern women claim to be depressed! Whereas 30 years ago, young women were presented to society at debutante balls, dressed up in silk organza, today they hold court with a condom in their purse at singles bars, wearing tight jeans, or fishnet stockings and miniskirts at 2 o’clock in the morning and hope for a “hook-up” during which they can test those “10 positions” that will…accomplish what?
If you believe that, I have an igloo in Houston to sell you….
During the 1960’s and 70’s, the media led people to believe that most Baby Boomers were of the Woodstock variety. The Age of Aquarius meant, among other things, bucking the rules, cultural mores and “old” ideals. But the truth was that nationwide, more young people lived in rural areas than in big cities, and were closer to traditionalism. The majority definitely were not Woodstock wannabes. Nevertheless, the Age of Aquarius won out, not because most Boomers were rebels, but because the parents and other adults at the time didn’t really understand how professional agitation was infiltrating the media — journalism, music, film — and inciting teenagers. By the time they realized what was happening, the Left already had its foot in the door, especially the school and the university door. The damage was done.
President George W. Bush, like him or not, is a product of the Boomer generation. He remarked after the September 11 attacks that if Americans didn’t go about their business as usual, including traveling by air, that the terrorists would simply win by default.
But being a product of the sixties, a member of that generation which decried rules, defied customs and “made love, not war,” he couldn’t visualize far enough into the future to realize that the anarchist die was already cast, sowed by the Left into a conflicted Boomer generation that would ensure someday that terrorists, both home-grown and foreign, would win. The Boomers would lead the country to more regulations than at any time in our nation’s history; into a politically correct world stripped of some of our most cherished liberties, such as freedom of conscience, expression and thought; and to the liberation of criminals and illegal aliens, which would mean less freedom for average U.S. citizens. Unknowingly, the Aquarius Boomers ushered in the same anti-individualist, anti-intellectual mentality that has infected every society that ever accepted a socialist police state.
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Reading over Ronald Reagan’s warning about how, unless we protected and passed on the real ideals of freedom (as defined by the likes of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and other Framers of our Constitution), we would “spend our sunset years telling our…children's children what it was like in the United States [when] men were free,” I am stunned by his chillingly perceptive prediction.
© 2008 - Beverly Eakman - All Rights Reserved