Freedom in America - it's real isn't it?


by Dorothy Anne Seese


Hello there folks, April 15th is coming up and all you free folk need to file your income tax returns, because the IRS knows who you are and how much you made. Well, that's not such a big sacrifice for being a free American, it is? After all, we've had income tax for decades now, we've gotten used to it, just one of those things a "free" people has to put up with in order to be free. We pay for all that government that protects us against those foreign folks who envy our freedom.

Last October I paid the property tax on my condo unit. If I didn't pay this tax, the county could take my unit away from me, but as long as I pay the government, and the condo association, I can live here in complete freedom. I just cannot plant any outside shrubs without the approval of the Landscape Committee. But that isn't too much freedom to surrender for having the landscaping maintained, is it?

Someone gave me a check about a year ago and I walked into this person's bank to cash it. I had spent part of a day doing something on their computer and this was my recompense. I showed the teller my identification, but I also had to be thumb-printed. You see, it was for our own good, because there are people out there who commit fraud, and giving a thumb print isn't too much of a sacrifice of privacy or freedom for our own protection, is it?

That reminds me, I must check my driver's license for the expiration date, because without my driver's license and its bar coded information about me, it's illegal to drive my sporty pickup truck. But in times like these, it's good for us that they, the government agencies, have all this information on us, so we won't be mistaken for terrorists or something.

At least, when it comes time to pay the tax on my vehicle, the assessor reminds me via mail. That way, after I produce my mandatory emissions certificate and proof of insurance, I can get a tag that makes it legal for me to drive the vehicle. Insurance is quite expensive but it's necessary, for our own good, so we have to pay it. It's also for our own good to have all vehicles registered in case one is stolen. We can report the license number to the police. Now all this isn't really giving up our freedoms, is it? Isn't it just a bit of red tape so we can have government protection?

That reminds me ... I have to check on the new seat-belt laws. They change quite often and I wouldn't want to be arrested. That would be very embarrassing.

It's also about time to go to the ATM machine to get some cash so I can shop. That machine looks at me rather funny (it might be my imagination) but I get cash ... if I have any in the bank. So I take the cash and go to the store, and they have this wonderful little card where I get all these discounts. All I had to do was fill out a two-page form telling them all about me, and voila! I got a discount card. Now I'm free to get bargain prices, as long as I first give the cashier that card.

Living in the Arizona deserts all through the summer can be very frustrating. The heat never ends. Last year I flew to Denver and returned to Phoenix a week before the Twin Towers bombing. This year, I won't be able to fly because of all the airport delays due to the new security systems, but they are promising that one day they will pre-screen folks so they can go right through the line like I did in August of 2001. I think it will be okay to give them all the information they want about me (they know most of it anyway) as long as it helps get me on the plane. We always have to give up a little freedom for security, don't we?

So far, I haven't tried to buy a gun, I really don't feel I need one, but my friend purchased one and had to go through a background investigation and some other red tape, but that's part of the system to protect us against evil people getting guns. At least, that's what they told her. The salesperson was also nice enough to inform her of all the places she could not take the gun, for her own safety. It wouldn't be very pleasant for her to wind up in jail if she forgets, but then it's for our own good ... the government said so.

Actually, people in America are quite free, so I am told. I've never been to a foreign country so I don't know.

I do know that as long as I stay inside my condo unit, obey all the laws, do whatever the government says, and fill out all the forms I'm asked to fill out and tell the truth, then I'm free to sit in here and read, or cook, or even work at the computer.

Freedom is easy when you just do as you're told!


"The makers of the Constitution conferred, as against the government, the Right to be let alone; the most comprehensive of rights,and the right most valued by civilized men."

- United States Supreme Court Justice Brandeis Olmstead v. United States (1928)



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