I’m a proud, lifelong supporter of Old Glory, and the causes, doctrines, and principles on which our American freedoms are founded. As a student of history, it’s clear to me that liberty and democracy survive only as long as our citizens maintain a strong, central government, dedicated to the task of preserving, providing, promoting, and passionately defending those freedoms at all levels, both State and Federal. Freedom is every heart’s desire and every just government’s goal, but it’s a mighty illusive concept when you’re at war. Freedom is nearly impossible when you don’t have peace. Warmongering is never an answer to a faltering economy. Clearly America’s collective conscience, as reflected by our chosen leaders, requires constant scrutiny and surveillance. Even in a democracy of, by, and for the people, justice and equality are only as perfect as the conscience of that people. Even America’s grand and glorious democracy reflects not only our goodness, but our greed. When huge corporations and smug financial institutions are prized and protected above justice, propriety, and the public good, greed goes unchecked and evil and injustice prosper. When the balance of power in The Supreme Court allows for the wholesale purchase of our media, our judicial system, and our Country’s National elections, with no regard for truth or justice, the corruptive power of big money and unbridled greed threatens the very fabric of our great Nation. When your candidate for office insists that your personal freedoms are best protected by deregulating huge corporations, providing incentives and tax breaks to big oil, invading foreign countries, and removing all environmental safeguards, you may want to consider a different candidate. If you profess to be a Christian, and your home church prefers singing the praises of the GOP, to preaching Christ's message of repentance and mercy, you may want to consider other options. Ignorance and intolerance are almost inseparable, and despite what some will tell you, neither one is a virtue. In this country, everyone has the right to life, liberty and their personal pursuit of happiness. Our country’s greatest strength is diversity; honor diversity and keep America strong. While I am generally conservative in my own actions, I am passionately liberal in defense of the choices of others. Personal choices, that’s what freedom is. Freedom is not a privilege to be taken lightly. Freedom is a right and a responsibility, a perishable torch to be diligently tended and faithfully passed along. Freedom burns within our hearts, ignited by the founding fathers, and it falls to us to keep that flame alive. America’s most trusted and time-honored institutions are only as righteous as the hearts of our citizens, our most godly leaders only as just as the collective conscience of their constituents and the most telling measure of a nation’s heart is the compassion of its people.
Shannon Thomas Casebeer
March 20, 2012