Some years ago, we entertained a group of Russians in this area. They were on a tour performing, dancing and playing their instruments. They didn’t know English and we didn’t know Russian, but we all fell in love with each other. It was a profound experience for many throughout the state. They stayed for several nights and were hosted by community families. We hosted a married couple.
When we gestured and pointed at this and that, we were able to communicate. So, when I say, “they said,” please understand that it took a while to work through the translation and comments. But when we asked “What do you sense or like the best about America?” this was the answer...
“We can feel the freedom here.” They further pointed and explained that it was a tangible, feeling in the air, and not only in the things that we were doing or experiencing with them.
I never forgot that.
We are so accustomed to being free, to coming and going as we wish, to sharing our thoughts and opinions, to owning guns, to holding meetings, to worshipping freely, that we think this is the “status quo” in the rest of the world. It takes a situation such as this Corona virus episode to realize how quickly those freedoms can disappear.
And we as a free society don’t like it at all when we feel those freedoms are restrained.
There are many who don’t have a clue. I understand that. They are perhaps young, raising a family, running like crazy from one event (baseball games, gymnastics, meetings) to another, trying to work to pay their bills, and so on.
And there are others who have no understanding whatsoever of history, wars, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all the other struggles and commitments that men have made so that we can enjoy these freedoms today! Each of the above have been signed with the blood of sacrifice.
If one is paying attention and really tuning in to the feeling in the air that the Russians could readily discern, one understands. To really feel the difference when freedoms are curtailed, one needs to be quiet and listen.
The discernment in the air is different. There is a squashed feeling when power is maligned, and freedoms are suppressed. It is a sad and heavy feeling.
So, what do we do? First of all, we pray. We thank God for His blessings for in spite of all our stupidity, and failure to keep the foxes out of the chicken house. He is merciful and forgiving. However, He doesn’t wink at our folly and ignorance. He is our standard.
It is OUR responsibility to study and learn about the whys of our freedom. And it is OUR responsibility to take part; to vote, to volunteer for community positions, and to run for offices. It is OUR responsibility to take part, to not say, “let the other guy do it,” and it is our responsibility to guard the chicken house.
There is a cost to maintaining our wonderful freedoms.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or juditabler@awomansview.