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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Words, Labels Have Meaning

I've been on this planet for almost 47 years now (good Lord, I'm getting old) and I have seen a massive shift in how we see things in this country.  When I joined the Navy in 1982, military service had a sense of honor and privilege.  Virtually every male in my family had served including my father and all of my uncles.  Service mattered and it was something to be looked upon with a sense of pride and duty. 

I remember standing in a crowd of people at the recruiting center, all of us raising our hand and swearing an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic.  After the oath, there was a brief moment of silence, the air in the building stood still for just a moment as the magnitude of that oath permeated the fabric of our beings.  It was a seminal point in my life, a moment that I will never forget and it is something I hope my children can understand.

As we look around us today, we see a different mindset.  We see issues of Constitutional relevance being relegated to the colloquial trash heap by the mainstream media, labeled as "social policy."  The Constitution is not "social policy," as though written by a homeowner's association about how tall your grass can be or whether or not you can paint your fence pink.  It's about issues like the 2nd Amendment - the right to keep and bear arms.  It's about the right of the citizenry to have access to the courts for the redress of wrongs.  It's about the right to practice our religious affections with no government intervention. It is about ensuring our borders are protected, our citizens kept safe from intrusion.

How are those issues merely "social" in nature?  I don't get it.

These words, these labels make a difference and it is the slow, steady erosion of a worldview wherein the Constitutional issues men and women have died for become little more than a catch-phrase or platitude.  I am not saying that the Constitution is to be held up to the same standard as the canon of Scripture, mind you, but it was important enough for our founding fathers to have a document that meant something to forge this great nation from the bedrock of freedom from tyranny.  If it's good enough for them, why isn't it good enough for us?

We're fixated on ridiculous scandals in politics and meanwhile, the issues that really matter, the points of freedom that should get our attention do not.  Corruption, cronyism, political prosecution and hypocrisy of the highest order are commonplace in government and we seem to accept it because the issues that matter most are merely "social" in nature.  We've allowed the mainstream media to create this bizarre little oligarchy wherein their precious few squander the rights and freedoms of the many for the express purpose of lining their pockets and ensuring a new form of intellectual tyranny. 

It puzzles me.  Words and these labels have meaning and they are not created by happenstance.  They are intentional, devious and cunning, and the authors are counting on our ignorance, our willingness to choose the path of least resistance and let them "lead the way." 

Every two years, we have the opportunity to shun the mainstream media, to go to the polls and do the right thing.  We have horribly short memories and sometimes it's difficult to remember what was promised when contrasted with what was delivered.  Together, however, we can remind one another of that which is important.  And the next time you read or hear someone calling issues of Constitutional import "social issues," get in their collective faces and remind them of those who have laid down their lives and paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedoms from tyranny.