It's Just a Minor Difference In How You Define It

"Freedom is etched in everybody’s soul" – the kind of sentiment he’s uttered over and over in the past year or two. But you have to wonder what he means by it.

I think that, to him, the word freedom means, among other things:

  • The ability to go anywhere you want in the world – all expenses paid – with an enormous security guard, worth tens of millions of dollars per year;

  • The opportunity to speak before cheering crowds that include not a single dissenter; and

  • The resources to send troops into a foreign country, devastate it, and then declare it liberated.

Unfortunately, for the rest of us peons the "freedom" George Bush is proclaiming includes much more mundane things, such as:

  • Paying federal, state, and local income taxes, Social Security taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, and import taxes that add up to almost half of what you earn;

  • Standing in long security lines at airports, being forced to remove your jacket and shoes, submitting to searches that are made without any warrant or probable cause, in violation of the 4th amendment to the Constitution;

  • Knowing that your email might be filtered and monitored – without a warrant or probable cause;

  • Knowing that your bank accounts and other personal affairs are subject to inspection by U.S. Treasury agents – without a warrant or probable cause;

  • Knowing that a mistaken identification could cause you to be arrested but never charged with a specific crime, put into prison, denied access to an attorney, and even denied the ability to tell your family where you are – in violation of the 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution;

  • Being forced to testify against yourself by revealing all your income and expense information to the IRS – in violation of the 5th amendment.

No wonder George Bush smirks and we cringe.

May 10, 2005