17 June, 2010

Freedom for those who Fight

I think about freedom a lot.
Within the bounds of corporate, I feel restricted and bound from expressing myself. However, it's voluntary. I stay here. I choose to conform in order to succeed (and provide). 

Outside of that, however, I embrace freedom - liberty - to be myself, to express myself and to share that with those who would be glad to listen or read along. I write and speak openly. I post on twitter and Facebook and Google Buzz. I comment on blogs. 
I live in my home and enjoy that. If I want to let my grass grow, I do. If I want to walk around naked in my house, I do. I swear and drink and dance and sing and eat. I drive wherever I want. I choose to buy what I want and sell what I want and I live with the consequences of all of those actions. 
I understand that if I break a law, I may get caught and go to jail or be fined or lose everything I have. I understand if I drive too fast or drink too much or eat something wrong I could die. I could die tomorrow from someone else's choices. I get that.

My word, I love it.
I love every minute of knowing that there is a cause and effect relationship between my choice/action and the consequences/reaction. I love knowing that I control my life. So what if there's a big man in the sky, or a ball of energy or a monster or demon "controlling" what I do? It's outside of my experience. If I don't believe it, if I choose to believe that it's not happening, I think it's believable that it's not true. It feels like I am choosing. It feels like things have a natural course and that there is a path to follow, but I don't feel forced into that path. 

Freedom is awesome. I'll fight for it any day, but I know when to hold my ground and when to leave well enough alone.

On May 27, 1962, the fires under Centralia, PA erupted. It was devastating to the town and the people within it. Leading up until the 80's, the residents slowly trickled out of the town as the fires spread - it now occupies 400 acres beneath the surface - and now there are 10 residents left. These people are being told by the government that they have to move out. Of course, the government will pay them the cost of their homes - buying them out. The remaining people in Centralia don't want to leave. Who could blame them? It is their home. They have lived there all of their lives.
But what happens if they don't? The government claims they're buying them out for their safety, which is a nice thing to do. I get that. However, what if they want to stay, regardless of their safety? What if they want to live and die there? Will the government still be okay with that? 
If they really wanted to, the government could just tell them that they must leave. They have to leave. The government will give them a tidy sum to get them started, and they'll be shunted out the door. If they won't go, will they be left there, or will they be forced out? Eminent domain allows that. 

Is that freedom?

I support the Centralia residents in staying in their homes. I have ever since I first heard of the town and its strife. What more freedom is there than choosing to live and die where you want to, on your own terms? A large part of me wants to try to support the Centralia residents in some way. I just don't know how. I want them to keep this freedom of their own place to be. I would want the same for myself. 

It does raise another question - one that I find quite interesting. The question being - if the government, any government, can move you away from your home or force you away, or property tax you into moving, do you ever really own that land? Do you own your home, or does your government? 

Step back. Look at your life. How free are you?

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