Friday, February 28, 2014

What destiny?

Freedom of speech is such a famous right of people in the United States of America that it almost feels redundant to bring it up here. But it can be such an awesome thing in surprising ways as, here in this country we have two major political parties that are troubled.

The Democrats and Republicans so dominate the political conversation that some may forget they came into existence beating prior political parties that existed before them and that a country far greater than either can simply dismiss dysfunction if it so chooses.

And stating that feels quite good and I relish the freedom that lets me state the obvious without fear. And I can go further:

IN a country ruled by merit, one can imagine simply putting forward better ideas that can help remind a country of what it does best and in so doing help people politically to live better, which I think is a Progressive position.

And if you can imagine it, then why not write it? And if you can write it, why not put it forward publicly?

In some other country, however, one might simply be afraid to state your political ideas for good reason. You might even be tortured or killed for trying to so choose.

As public and famous as our free speech right is, I think also great about this country is a simple notion that people have the ability to make their own choices. And our government at its best enables that ability.

I codifed my views in this regard into a statement within a post where I gave my suggestion for a new political party as why not? I have the right to express my opinions and I think we have a country that needs better than our current two dominant political party choices. This country has not grown greater by rewarding failure.

Success defines itself.

Here's a piece of what I wrote which I think is a relevant excerpt as it focuses on choice:

That there is a fundamental right to access to information, and also a fundamental right to privacy, as well as the right to, as best one can, choose one's own destiny, including as a matter of course, a woman's right to choose.

Quite deliberately I found myself placing several things together as each is related to our ability to choose.

How can you choose well without enough information?

How many of us have suffered and continue to suffer trying to figure out something as basic as where to work where you want and where people want you? Searching for jobs is one of the classic areas where it is so profound to just know where they are! And how best to get one. But that's just one example relevant to me in my personal situation, as there are many others.

And your right to privacy? How different is it to live without knowing what someone else is watching, or hearing about you? How differently might you move if your government were, say, watching you in your bedroom? Or monitoring your phone calls? Or was bugging and tracking your vehicle to see everywhere you go, or hear everything you say within it?

Could it control you with lots of information on your deepest desires?

How well might you choose in such an environment?

And along with things that can detract from your ability to choose what if you were more likely to be paid less because of your sex?

Women face any number of challenges to their ability to choose so I thought it worth mentioning that directly as something that runs counter to the ideals of this nation.

Do you take choice for granted? Do you think "destiny" is a meaningless word in modern society?

Then why not consider British society?

I am fascinated by the British for many reasons. They have a culture which has dominated the world in many ways for centuries, and represent the most dominant past influence on my own country which escaped theirs by rebellion. And they have many values I like to think I share, like a love of the English language. 

The British, including of course the English, seem to relish a tradition of enjoying language and the wonder of writing well. I make no pretense about my own writing, as I consider it primarily functional, but as a reader I love writing done well, and love the idea of someone working to do it well.

While I'm sure most British would scoff at the idea of destiny in their lives there is no doubt that for some it is still very real as consider a baby recently born, famous around the globe and the choices in front of him in this life. 

While I don't doubt that the Royal Family will do its best to raise a kid happy and healthy with a sense of his right to choose his own destiny, one wonders how easy would it really be for him to simply choose, say, for a while later in life to just be a beach bum?

And the thing is, I don't know how many people actually manage to make that choice. I've dreamed about it myself but never managed, but I have little doubt that if I tried there would be no national outcry of dismay!

From the extreme maybe we can better appreciate that principle that making your own choices, for good or ill, as best one can, is a core principle that can define a society in ways that may surprise.

People talk about the wonder of a nation where the ideal is that anyone can grow up to become president of the United States, but I'd add that anyone can help write the future of the nation. And our free speech right gives each of us that possibility to be part of the conversation that helps define a future.

Our destiny as a nation is to lead I firmly believe because we give people the freedom to define themselves, hone and polish their skills and step out on the world stage with the confidence of practice.

We are a nation where merit matters.

It is important to be good at what you do.

That is a value worth keeping.

Freedom is not just given. Freedom is learned. And we can help teach a world that human beings are not what we as human beings can put into some rational box, but are creative beings where the best is always yet to come--if you choose it to be.

So our destiny is unknowable as it is waiting to be lived.

And our choices will make our world.

Choose as best you can and for those in my nation the United States of America please remember: you have the right to choose. Never forget it.


James Harris


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