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I was recently talking with some young people and I was astounded by some of the things they said.  Some of them think people’s right to voice their opinion should be limited if they “hurt the feelings” of others and the right of religious freedom should be limited if others are uncomfortable.  As I listened to this, I thought I should look this up and see if it is prevalent.

What I have found is shocking and reminds me of a quote of a Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin to mind, when he said, “A Republic if you can keep it”.  Here is what I found, and it scares me to my bones to be honest because some are willing to give up or sacrifice freedom in these ways:

  • Their right to vote, in exchange for student debt to be paid off,
  • Their right to privacy, in exchange for security
  • Civil liberties, for security,
  • The government to have the ability to see who you called and for how long you talked without a warrant, for security,
  • Government monitoring of social media and internet activity, for security,
  • Profiling of people of Middle East descent, for security,
  • Regulating guns, to prevent gun violence.

There are other examples, but you get the point.  People today, are willing to sacrifice their freedoms that were paid for in our Country’s history with blood, sweat, and tears in the interest of what they perceive to be an easier and safer life.  We have come a long way from the day Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death”.  I would like to point out the beginning of this famous speech, that we just remember the last sentence, and which swayed the Founding Fathers to movement.

At the very beginning of the speech, Henry declared that “Different men often see the same subject in different lights; and therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.  This is no time for ceremony.

With these words at the beginning of the speech as well as the famous words at the end of his speech, Henry was guilty of high treason in the eyes of the King and faced the death penalty and his entire fortune was forfeited if the bid for freedom had failed.  These Founding Fathers, each one of them, gave up everything for freedom.

That is the message, more than anything in this message I would like to transmit.  These men, who were wealthy by that day’s measure, knew fully well that if the bid for freedom was lost, their entire fortunes, as well as their lives, were lost as well, and yet they gave up that security to form our new Country.  They knew once they signed their name to the Declaration of Independence there was no going back.  They traded wealth, ease, and privilege for death and poverty; and they did so gladly.

We must remember this as it is an ever-present reminder that our rights were paid for dearly and to just give them up is an abdication of our responsibility and duty to those who came before us.  All of the rights that we have in this country have allowed us to be free and to become the greatest country on Earth.  To limit them in any way, even to make one “safer” flies in the face of our Country’s Founders, when they said Give me Liberty or Give me death.  It is as true today as it was then.

Remember, the book 1984 written by George Orwell had the theme of a dystopian government that tended to give less freedom but more security.  The people of Oceania voluntarily gave up their freedoms to fight the enemy of Big Brother, and Big Brother encouraged that voluntary divestment of rights for security.  Each right that is given up voluntarily brings us closer to that totalitarian government and something that goes against our Founders’ vision of our great country.

I am honored to represent you in the Statehouse and bring our NW Iowa values to the Concrete of Des Moines.  Thank you!

Author: John Wills