“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Ronald Reagan was right when he warned Americans with those words.
Children from around the world that never had Liberty for a mother seek her out. So many have suffered under tyrannical rule. They understand what it is to live without liberty. The book “Pursuing Liberty” by Cory Emberson and Rick Lindstrom, provided a platform for people who have lived under oppressive governments.
Maybe the children of Liberty in America need to listen to their stories and pass them on to their children so it can be recognized that Liberty is not just a statue in New York Harbor or an adornment above a capitol building. Liberty cannot continue if she is taken for granted. Liberty must be recognized and protected. Liberty is freedom.
The American immigrants that share their stories of life in the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela and other countries where Liberty is not welcome via the book Pursuing Liberty, understand what living without Liberty means. They tell what it feels like when there is no freedom to live life in pursuit of your dream. In some instances, people are not even permitted to purchase a loaf of bread before a certain time of day without being punished.
A woman that once lived in the Soviet Union cautioned that “ Progressives tend to view people not as unique individuals but as groups of people (African-American, white, gay, Hispanic, female, etc.). This is similar to how society was structured by the Soviet government, which saw people in terms of their ethnicity ( Ethnic Russian, Jewish, Asian, etc.). This is a dangerous trend for any society because it is easy for the government to distract people from its own failures by drawing attention to and exploiting ethnic tensions.”
A man who was born in Cuba described how life changed when Castro took over. Currency was changed overnight. “One morning, the blue bills weren’t good anymore and you had to buy the red bills.” Food became scarce and private property was seized and redistributed. He said many today in America are not engaged in the political dialogue. That can endanger Liberty.
In Cuba, “We used to call the Cuban Revolution the Toe revolution. You didn’t become agitated until someone stepped on your toe. You see your neighbor’s house taken away, well it’s his house. They’re leaving me alone. You see the guy down the street taken away in shackles. Oh well‒it’s not me.”
Under the rule of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, a woman told about reporters that were often harassed, threatened, and imprisoned if they dared to criticize Chávez. Television stations that did not support Chávez and his policies were shut down. She warns that it can happen in America too if we do not heed the signs.
The common thread of living without Liberty is that there is no freedom to speak your mind. The people who told their stories in the book recognize some of the signs today in America that led to the weakening and eventual death of Liberty in their birth countries. We children of Liberty must defend her now before she dies and is forgotten in America.
How can we protect Liberty? Authors of Pursuing Liberty Cory Emberson and Rick Lindstrom suggest a start is to recognize that Liberty allows each individual opportunity to succeed, not a guarantee.
Also we must reacquaint ourselves and our children with the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. I would add reading and sharing with our friends, children, and grandchildren “Pursuing Liberty” which records the accounts of people who lived without Liberty. It will make us aware of what will be taken from us if we do not protect Lady Liberty now.
Diana Erbio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World”. Read her blog series “Statues: The People They Salute” and visit the Facebook Page.