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I fear America has lost itself through political infidelities, back-turning and greed. Kyle Shook wrote a letter in Wednesday's paper that made me stop and ponder the state of the fundamental building blocks of our culture: Our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A right to live: Is this just an American right or a basic right of all of humanity? I feel that it is everyone's right. If so, why do we feel only anger for terrorists? Why not sorrow and pity?
These horrible acts are brought about because of things they were taught since childhood. They all started as babies, innocent and pure. They were tainted with hate and tyrannical religious views as they grew. I do not feel sorrow for the terrorists themselves, but for their children. They are being taught as their parents were, and we do nothing but prove their parents right. The only thing they have seen of Americans, even before the war, is death and greed.
Americans take lives every day: Abortions, hate crimes, lethal injections. Does a baby being conceived through rape take away the child's right to live? A Supreme Court Justice once ruled that the right of a man to swing his fist ends where another mans face begins. Doesn't the spirit of that legal precedent apply? Do sexual orientation, religious views or race make you any less human? Criminals may be bad people, but are they not people?
Liberty: Are any of us really free? If your dog breaks his chain or jumps the fence, do you not get a citation? Your birthday present from the government is your need to renew a tag. What happens if you are late? Happy birthday, Jane. Could you please sign this citation?
Pursuit of happiness. Most of us spend our entire lives pursuing happiness and never find it. What's sad is that a lot of Americans think wealth is happiness. I know plenty of wealthy people on antidepressants. Don't worry; doctors have a magic pill to fix unhappiness. A pill can fix anything, right?
I know what I need to be happy. The health of my two sons. The love of my husband. A few good friends. A family who is always on my side. And just enough money to have a place to lay our heads, food in our bellies, hot water and electricity to make our home comfortable. No extravagances necessary. Yet the supposed need for more that motivates most in our great nation hinders me from the meager needs of my own pursuit of happiness.
Go ahead and blame all of our problems on 9-11 and George Bush. Its easier than looking in the mirror and pointing the finger at the real culprit. We are all to blame. We did nothing and let men and women pad their pockets and take away our rights, not as Americans, but as human beings.
Now the dream that motivated our Founding Fathers to send that scathing declaration to the King of England demanding his recognition our right to ‘Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" is nothing more than a dream. We are truly worse than they were.