May 25, 2009 - Memorial Day
The fact that I'm writing this is an irony only I can fully appreciate. I have for most of my life thought that, with few exceptions, people don't pay too much attention to what I have to say. This is probably due to my ego or self-esteem, whether too much or too little is hard to tell from my perspective, but there it is. So, for me to actually create a blog is paramount to shouting my views at the non-listeners, something I've tried very hard not to do or have found futile over the years. Still, there are things happening in this country that I can no longer watch without voicing my opinion. If you agree, good; if you don't, ok, but no matter what your judgment of my opinion, I hope it will cause you to think and to ponder what to do within your own circle of listeners.
The thing that pushed me to start this blog is, on its surface, simple: On Saturday, my husband bought a motorcycle. Nothing fancy, but nice enough for us to ride and enjoy on sunny days. We decided to go for a ride on Sunday afternoon. As we climbed on and got in riding position, he turned to me and asked, "So, where do you want to go?" I thought about it for a moment and chose a little two-lane highway leading south of town, and we were off.
The day was perfect. The sun warmed us and shadows from the fluffy clouds cooled us and the wind was just right. Riding a motorcycle can be a very solitary thing, even with two on the bike. It gives you time to think, to look at the scenery, to catch the scents and inhale them deeply into your lungs. I looked up at the many layers of clouds and between them, saw the deep blue of the sky. The land is nearly level in West Texas and as far as you can see is as far as you can see. I like that. I get clausterphobic in the mountains, but the open plains speak to me. I thought about that and how much I love this place. Some would say there's nothing out here, but they are looking with their eyes, not their heart. To someone who's not a Texan, it's very hard to understand how a Texan feels about Texas. Think of it like school spirit, only 100 times more intense, and you'll have a glimpse.
So, we're riding and I'm studying the land and the sky and thoroughly enjoying myself. "This," I thought, "is freedom. The choice to travel on a motorcycle on the sunny Sunday with my favorite person in the world, going any direction we choose, for as long as we want, with no one demanding anything from us. This is freedom." And it was, too. It wasn't just the ride or the day. As I pondered, I realized it was the ability to ride, to go or not to go, to go north or south, east or west, to not have a government telling us we must go a certain way, or work on a certain day, or stand in line for food or clothes or medicine. We had a few hours when we could forget the nuttiness in the world, or not, but it was our choice, and that's freedom.
I thought about the Tea Party Movement, about Glenn Beck, about the many people I'm getting to know and respect on Twitter because of their love for the country and their intense concern about the direction it's going. I thought I had some things to say about that, too, and if I was going to find a venue where I could share my views, it was going to have to be through a blog. If they were alive today, the founding fathers would all be on Twitter and Facebook and they'd all have blogs! "Common Sense" would appear as a blog, as would the "Federalist Papers." Hard to imagine, but you know it's true.
Then, I thought about what we have to fight for today, and it occurred to me that I was doing it at that very moment. Freedom, and all that the word includes. Freedom of choice, harming none, total freedom to be whatever we make of ourselves and our country. What if we didn't fight for it? Well, then we'll lose our history. We'll lose Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, Abigail Adams, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Paul Revere, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, Dolly Madison, Patrick Henry, Andrew "Ol' Hickory" Jackson, Lewis and Clark, and countless others who helped shape this great country. It will all have been for nothing, if we don't fight for it now because there are changes happening right now that threaten to take it all away, and we're the only ones who can stop it.
I thought about my husband's question: "So, where do you want to go?" and it occurred to me that it was a perfect question for our country. Where do you want to go?