Commonwealth Journal

Columns

July 5, 2012

Reflections on Freedom

(Continued)

Yet bullying took a back seat this year (on both sides of the aisle, for the most part), and reason won the day. I didn’t necessarily expect it to happen that way, but it did. Chalk up another win for the fuel that powered the Age of Enlightenment, the cultural movement to embrace reason and free thought that inspired our nation’s forefathers to create this grand experiment in the first place.
I do believe that alcohol sales will positively impact the community’s economy — I think we’re already seeing it, with increased interest in opening new businesses, like the story reported last Thursday about attorney Scott Foster’s desire to seek a liquor store license — but even if not a single new restaurant opens, I’ll be okay with that. 
For me, that wasn’t really the point, you see. I viewed this as a debate about the free exercise of choice: that is, having a new bar or liquor store is not as important as having the right to open to a new bar or liquor store. It’s a matter of patriotic principle as much as practicality. We are all better off when we are all freer. 
I don’t want to come across as cold or heartless. I do understand why so many on the “dry” side felt compelled to limit the risk they perceived to those they held dear, no doubt many of them shaken from past encounters with drunk driving tragedies or alcohol addiction. When a matter touches your heart, it is very often overwhelming.
But above all else, I think it’s important to hold true to the great idea, “Love your neighbor.” And if anyone would seek to use the law of the land to restrict my lifestyle choices rather than open them up ... well, that ain’t love. Not as I see it. Love is granting me the respect to live day-to-day in whatever way I choose, so long as I allow you to do the same. It’s a simple concept in theory — and the basis of American thought that formed our country over 200 years ago — but quite difficult to master. We are only human, after all.

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Columns
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