Happy July 4th everybody. When I was a kid this was by far my favorite holiday for a few reasons:
- It is in the middle of the summer and summer is my favorite time of year
- We always had family and friends over to celebrate and I love a good party
- It meant I got to blow things up
On the 4th we celebrate our independence and we, rightfully so, place a strong emphasis on the members of our military – both living and deceased – who remind us that our independence has not and does not come without a cost. That “freedom isn’t free” is a notion that we should not embrace for just Independence Day, Veterans Day, or Memorial Day, but every day of the year. The men and women of our military suit up every day to protect our freedoms and we should remember them more often.
Our independence from Great Britain did not come without a price neither does the continuous protection of our freedoms, but part of me believes that we walk a fine line between what we embrace as our freedoms and the utterly blatant misuse of said freedoms. Consider the following:
- We believe in the freedom of our businesses to create value for their stakeholders by
developing products that people will buy (legal products of course). That said, this freedom is often misused. This morning, I can walk into a Dunkin Donuts and buy a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich served between 2 glazed donuts. People who eat this sandwich for breakfast are basically saying, “I don’t have the guts to commit suicide by the usual methods so I will just do it by clogging my arteries and bringing on diabetes.” We in the US spend more on health club memberships than any other country in the world yet our obesity rates are skyrocketing along with the costs to treat obesity related diseases. So while I believe in capitalism, I also believe that the Dunkin Donuts employees who were part of the brainstorming session that led to the creation of this heart attack on a plate should be sentenced to 5 years of watching Richard Simmons perform Sweating to the Oldies.
- We have freedom of the press yet this freedom is blatantly misused. The press chooses who to turn into heroes, who to turn into villains, who is deserving of absolution, and who is deserving of crucifixion. Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend yet was his music banned from the radio? Did any powerful groups with the backing of the media successfully prevent him from earning a living by boycotting his concerts? After an audio recording of Alec Baldwin berating his daughter was leaked, did he loose his job on 30 Rock, his ability to host SNL, or his role as product pitchman? But Don Imus was fired for making a joke, Paula Deen was crucified for a comment she admitted to making 30 years ago, and George Zimmerman was tried in the press well before jury selection began for his trial. I am not defending these last three but there is something really wrong about a press that misuses its influence by appointing the angels and demons amongst us. As such, I would like to sentence the press to watching Fred the Movie on continuous loop. Frankly I can’t think of anything more painful.
- We have freedom of religion and freedom of speech but the two come together to form the abomination that is the Westboro Baptist Church. These hate mongers picket the funerals of soldiers as they believe God allows soldiers to die due to tolerance of homosexuality. These assholes even threatened to picket the funerals of Sandy Hook victims. In the coming weeks they will picket a Matchbox 20 concert and a Goo Goo Dolls concert because they believe pop idols are the root of all evil. Who has this kind of free time? I am surprised they have not picketed a Wiggles concert due to rumors that Jeff (Purple Wiggle) is gay. As such, I sentence the leaders and members of the Westboro Baptist Church to 6 months on a leaky boat with Captain Feathersword.
There is no better country on this planet than the United States of America. Many people gave their lives to establish our independence any many continue to sacrifice their lives to protect our freedoms. That said, there is a difference between freedom and the misuse of that freedom and we should be ever so mindful if that distinction.