Letter: Pay attention to the real threats to our liberty

Posted 4/29/22

To the editor:

Liberty, in common usage, means “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.” Thankfully, because of our constitution, we have a system of laws to protect …

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Letter: Pay attention to the real threats to our liberty

Posted

To the editor:

Liberty, in common usage, means “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.” Thankfully, because of our constitution, we have a system of laws to protect us.  To protect us all, the laws must be applied equally to us all, called equal rights.

Liberation can perhaps be called a kissing cousin of liberty. Liberation is “the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.” In an ideal world, or country, genuine liberty obviates the need for liberation. But of course this is not a perfect world.

Liberation movements tend to be seen as revolutionary, even violent. This is sometimes the case. However, in America our Bill of Rights provides the opportunity for groups to seek equal opportunity and equal justice under the law peacefully.  

The commitment to non-violence by Gandhi and MLK Jr. did not arise from thin air. Non-violence arose from the gory lessons of history and the thinking and aspirations of philosophers, statesmen, and ordinary people. It is to them that we owe our profound thanks, and it is to them that we bow to their examples.  

Many American men shy away from non-violence, even from thoughts about our better angels, let alone the work needed to bend the arc of history toward justice. We seem to see enemies everywhere and constant threats to our families and even to our manhood. What are our main threats really?  

Greedy oil companies siphon our wallets. Lazy politicians do nothing about climate change. Many red state GOP governors decline Medicaid expansion and turn back rent relief funds. Idiotic, right-wing lies about critical race theory, unsavory math school textbooks, Democrats as pedophiles, election fraud, and vaccine “control” clog the arteries of public discourse. Friends, these kinds of issues are our real threats. They harm us economically and socially. These issues cannot be countered by men with guns. They can only be countered by the citizen application of political elbow grease from the can of common sense.

We who love liberty, hopefully everyone, need to liberate ourselves from all the lies and conspiracy theories. And from the actions of self-serving, autocratic leaders whose shameful words and deeds prove that they view most of us as enemies or stooges. We are certainly neither. We are, instead, the benefactors of democracy forged across the years through struggle and sacrifice. To turn against democracy now would be to kiss our liberty good-bye.

Will Newman

Tiverton

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