One of the easiest phrases to roll off
the tongue of an American is when speaking of our “rights”. I have
the “right” to freedom of speech based on the 1st amendment. I have
the “right” to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I have the “right” to believe
in whatever God I choose or no God at all. I have the “right” to
disagree with the decisions my government makes without fear of reprisal and
the “right” to get rid of them if I think they’re doing a bad job. I
have the “right” to own property and the “right” to defend
I have the “right” to marry
whom I want and the “right” to be left alone in my own home without
concern for government intrusion. I have the “right” to travel freely
from state to state without a passport or permission for the matter. Yes I have
innumerous amounts of “rights” in the United States and we spend a
lot of time and money trying to get more every day.
The truth of the matter is we do
indeed possess these “rights”; what isn’t true is that all of them are intrinsic to our nature.
No, the truth is we don’t actually “have” ANY rights in America, if
in “rights” we mean I deserve them or
earned them. The “rights”
we do have, have been given to us! The “rights” you have to
speak freely was given to us by people who DIED speaking freely. The
“right” you have to worship freely here without the concern for
coercion or jail time was given to you by people who left their native home to
hand us that privilege.
The right to despise your government,
AND more importantly publicly say so was given to you by people who fought and
died, literally, to create a
government that allowed itself to be challenged.
I hate war but humanity has proven we
can’t exist without it. You can protest war in America only because people who
fought in war gave you the privilege. My point is that we should
be beyond grateful for all the “rights” we possess as
American’s; but perhaps we should all be more careful about flippantly
utilizing the word “rights” as though this is common to man.
It should roll off your tongue with
somber awe and dignity as though you have been given access to using the king’s
name in order to pass through hostile terrain. It should be honored by the
weight of its presence. If you have the “right” to burn your own
flag, it should be for that very reason
that you never do! This is something that used to be called honor and yet seems
only to be taught now to soldiers.
It is only “right” that we
never take for granted what most of us have been given simply because of the
land our mothers inhabited as they gave birth. Even though we believe that God
created all men equal, it is left to us in this fallen state to honor that and
instigate it whenever we can. Why? Because the Creator said that this is “right”.