So This Is Freedom
I received your letter last week, and you are so right! Our country has changed so much since the days of our founding fathers you'd hardly know we were still living in the country they invented.
I had a wonderful dream the other night. I dreamed I was living in a land called Freedom, a country totally free from government rules and regulations, where even the taxes are completely voluntary. It was Independence Day, and I wanted to celebrate this important holiday in a manner befitting its significance, so I packed up my fishing gear and drove to Liberty Lake.
The weather was warm, and the sky a beautiful golden brown. Hundreds of high-speed motorboats zipped back and forth across the water, whipping up a froth of green foam. I hauled out my gear and headed for the shore, but was waylaid by a local resident.
"No point in wastin' your time out there today," he said. "A commercial fishing company came through here two days ago with a big net and took out everything bigger than three inches."
"No kidding," I said. "Oh, well, it's a free country." I got back in my car and drove on down to Independence National Park. There was no entry fee, so naturally the place was packed. RV's so close together they could hardly open their doors. The sewage system was overflowing, and trash and garbage were strewn everywhere. Close by in the woods, someone fired off several rounds from an automatic weapon. I was surprised.
"I didn't know there was any wild game left in Freedom," I said to the man standing next to me.
"There isn't," he answered. They just shoot at rocks and trees now. Four people got shot up here last week. One died, I heard."
"Well, it's a free country," I said. "You want the blessings, you have to take the risks."
It was late afternoon, so I drove back home. My back-fence neighbors were setting off some safe and sane fireworks in their yard. It was truly an inspiring sight, and my heart swelled with patriotic fervor. Suddenly one of their bottle rockets shot over the fence and landed on my roof. I grabbed the hose and turned on the faucet, but nothing came out. The utility company had shut off the water because I couldn't pay their high rates. I ran inside and picked up the phone, but that was dead, too. I rushed next door and ran up my neighbor's sidewalk, but six feet from the door a trip-wire sent a bullet into my left leg. He opened the door a crack.
"Sorry," he said. "That was intended for burglars and rapists."
"That's okay," I moaned. "It's a free country." I limped to my car and went to look for a pay phone, but I hadn't gone five blocks before I was broadsided by a 13-year-old driving home from the neighborhood hemp parlor. He took a drag on his joint and leaned out the window.
"Sorry, dude," he said. "I didn't see you, man."
"That's okay," I said. "It's a free country." I hobbled three blocks further to a pay phone and put in my $2. There was no 911 to dial, but I could call my local volunteer fire department. Unfortunately, they were all out celebrating their freedom, and there was no one to answer the phone. I didn't get my $2 back, either.
"Oh, well," I said to myself, "A burned-down house is a small price to pay for living in Freedom."
It took me nearly four hours to drag myself the remaining two miles to the hospital, and when I got there, the ER was full and people were lined up for three blocks outside. Besides the usual gunshot wounds, there were folks of all ages with missing fingers, hands, and eyes, and burns too numerous to count. You see, in Freedom, not only could you buy any and all commercial fireworks, but gunpowder, dynamite, and even C4 were all sold without restrictions, so anyone could make their own fireworks.
It was almost midnight when my turn finally came. I paid $200 cash to be treated by a second-year medical student who was trying to earn some extra money on the side. A real doctor would have cost me $2000. My employer didn't carry medical insurance, and I sure couldn't afford it on the $1.50 an hour he paid me. Infection soon set in, and two weeks later I had to have my leg amputated by the same student. After the surgery, I had to wait three hours on the sidewalk until my 12-year-old daughter could get off from her job at the nuclear waste recycling plant and drive me back to the poorhouse.
I was about to drink a toast to celebrate my freedom from oppression and tyranny when I woke up and found myself back in the US of A with all its petty rules and regulations. Bummer! So, my fellow patiot, keep on fighting the good fight. We'll throw all those bums in Washington out and reclaim our precious freedoms!
Power To The People!
Copyright 1998 by Kathleen Mc Pugh, all rights reserved