Monday, July 03, 2006

Freedom and Independence (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness)

The reason to celebrate freedom and independence is that they are the easiest things to take for granted -- especially by those who have never known anything else, any other way of being and living. It’s easy to believe that it’s “free,” and nobody has to pay a price for it, ever. Many even believe that those who do know and pay a price for freedom, are fools, because it is free, and nobody ever has to pay a price. Sadly that is the attitude of most of the editorialists writing these days -- who got everything free from a government program, and so believe, it is their entitlement -- and anybody who pays the price is a fool, because it is free.

But what is free and easy now, came because of the foresight, planning and sacrifice -- by others, and that’s why, it is free -- because somebody paid the price, for everyone. But countless editorialists will say, “Nobody should ever have to pay the price; it is just free -- and there for the taking” -- and taking is their only exercise of freedom.

It doesn’t take much brains to know that something is free -- but it requires great intelligence to realize it costs something. That is the price of any choice -- the choices not taken. Those who do not value and appreciate what they have, will of course, lose it someday, and have no idea how to regain it -- because it is no longer free, and that was all they knew, and thought there was to know.

Many people are independent, but very few are free -- because that means to be without compulsion, coercion, fears, anxieties and expectations -- to be as they’ve never been before. Those are not issues with those who are merely independent; their independence may even be the freedom from these considerations -- without choice, without having to make choices.

So freedom is the much more arduous path -- but also the higher attainment and fulfillment; it is not freedom from something, but freedom to be, as one is -- because the former is just a reaction to one’s bondage, and not real freedom -- to be. That is the simplicity and beauty of life -- just being, and not trying to become something other than one is. That is the celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- that should never be taken for granted.

Fittingly, it is the celebration at the height of our summer.


At July 05, 2006 7:21 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Kailua, July 4th Parade

It may be the best parade in the Islands -- or anywhere, for that matter. The parade has the feel of tromping through everybody’s backyard, while they’re sitting in their lawn chairs, fully expecting us to show up.

There’s a strategy to successful parading; we want to be the most energized unit coming down the streets -- and not looking haggard, confused, disheveled, disoriented -- in search of a reason for being there. My philosophy is that we need to take the parade to the people --and not let them sit back passively in bewildered judgment of us. We need to be in their faces, inside their heads, and that leaves a lasting impression.

I think my lasting legacy to the Republican Party was that I taught them how to parade -- and put the Democrat unit to shame, looking like a bunch of people just doing union duty -- just like we routed them in the 2002 sign-waving standoff before the first Hirono-Lingle debate. As soon as the clock hit 6 or whatever was quitting time, they all laid down their signs and went home as though they didn‘t want to really be there in the first place -- clearing the way for Linda Lingle to ride up triumphantly to the studio doors at KHET, with nobody but her enthusiastic supporters in sight.

That was a major turning point early on -- a critical test of support that evaporated for the Democrats as soon as they could all punch out. The Hirono-Democrat/union forces would never be the same after that. They didn’t really show up after that -- as an organized, unified force. They still don’t look like they’ve recovered -- figured out why the Republicans are getting all the cheers and acknowledgment. Is it because Kailua is Republican -- or is it because the Democrats are dull and uninspiring?

It’s as though their whole persona now is to give the impression that they’re merely remnants of the past, their glory years. The message from the Democratic National Committee chairman is a return (retreat) to the ‘60s -- as the Golden Years behind, and not ahead. They plan to rally the troops by bringing out the ‘60s icons one more time -- Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, etc. -- for they don’t remember why anymore, but that’s what they’ve always done before and so need to continue until they all die.

You can’t run a political party on a seniority system; you need to run it on talent and ability. That is what will keep any organization strong and vital. That’s why the mainstream media, schools, universities are failing. You can’t run those institutions on seniority; you need to run them on talent and ability -- or they get outrun by the new, forged in the realities of the present time, conditions, mentality.

Just go to the respective homepages for the parties -- one is alive with color, functionality, news and events, while the other, looks “incomplete,” an inconvenient afterthought -- as though they don’t really want you to know anything, don’t want your participation through this portal. I guess they’re doing everything through the unions, behind closed doors, the ol’ boy network, including the newspapers.

At July 07, 2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Thread Of Freedom
Posted 7/6/2006

Alliances: The conventional wisdom is that the U.S. enjoys little international support as we vigorously wage war on terror and deter aggression. But we have fast friends among those who know freedom has a price.

In an underreported visit to the White House this week, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili delivered a moving tribute to U.S. efforts to promote and defend freedom. "Your freedom agenda does indeed work," he told President Bush Wednesday. "You can see it in Georgia. We are seeing it in Iraq. And please stay there. Please fight there until the end.

"We will stay with you there," Saakashvili promised, "whatever it takes, because your success in Iraq is success for countries like Georgia. It's a success for every individual that loves freedom, every individual that wants security, to live in a more secure world for himself, herself or their children."

Unlike America's many critics in Europe, Saakashvili has actually risked his skin for his own people's liberty. He resigned his powerful post as justice minister in 2001 because corruption engulfed the Shevardnadze government. He then led a wave of anti-government demonstrations that became the Rose Revolution.

We also now have a more dependable friend north of the border. After meeting with Bush Thursday, new Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted that in the wake of the arrest of 17 alleged terrorist plotters in Ontario last month, "it's been brought home to all of us that we face exactly the same kind of security threats and are defending exactly the same kinds of values."

Asked about North Korea's provocative long-range rocket tests, Harper commented: "I think it should be obvious when we look at this kind of threat why the United States and others would want to have a modern and flexible defense system."

America's friends and allies are on the rise. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel supports our efforts in Iraq. Japan and the U.S. — adversaries in the bloodiest war in history — are closer than ever. India, the world's most populous democracy, was practically a Soviet ally during the Cold War. Now we enjoy the best ties with India ever.

Saakashvili said that when he stood next to Bush in Freedom Square in Tbilisi last year, "I felt like... it was vindication for all those Georgians, including my family members, who perished in the Gulag, who died fighting for their freedom, their liberty, their independence."

As more countries see that freedom is never free, America's boldness in fighting the war on terror is being vindicated too.

At July 08, 2006 3:29 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It seems that the mainstream media’s Big Thing now is to convince us of what is not true -- as an exhibition of their own power -- which is obviously eroding very quickly. Not to worry though, there are plenty of people waiting to step into that vacuum of providing credible information -- with integrity.

The whole information landscape has shifted from the powers-that-would-like-to-remain so, to those who resonate with authenticity -- which is the new and preferred skill, from those who just accept the authority of others because they are expected (required) to do so. That’s very disruptive to the demagogues of all stations in life, including most of the con-artists -- many who are the leading advertisers in the traditional media, often masquerading as “public service announcements,” proclaiming themselves as the experts who ought to be listened to unquestioningly.

I notice those voices are getting shriller as people back away from them in new-found revulsion, and many are threatening to “off” themselves if we do not give them the deference and respect they deserve.

What are they waiting for?


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