I occasionally receive criticism for writing about topics other than Parkinson’s on this blog. Certainly, the “off-topic” posts that I write are not as widely read or commented upon, and in the current social and political environment expressions of opinion about controversial subjects are often not appreciated. Okay – I understand.
I do have a life beyond PD, though – to be blunt, the important parts of my life are not about PD. Parkinson’s is an intruder, and does not deserve my regard or my exclusive attention. My stated intention to live “in defiance of PD” sometimes means that I ignore it. I can never forget about it (even now, I’m typing at a blazing 10 words per minute, and the key I use most is the “delete” key), but I CAN sometimes choose to think about something else.
Today is Independence Day in the United States. Two hundred and forty-one years ago, a group of independent-minded misfits chose to risk death and ruin to collectively raise their voices in defiance of tyranny. They took that risk to live in freedom, rather than to live a single additional moment under the yoke of oppression. They chose to live in defiance at the cost of constant vigilance.
Thomas Jefferson said, “…even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” I believe our form of government is among the best ever conceived by Mankind. It’s not perfect, but nothing can claim perfection on the muddy side of Eternity. I also believe that governments cannot be trusted because power corrupts, and because people, even with the best of intentions, sometimes lose their way.
Our government was designed with this knowledge in mind. The three co-equal branches, the checks and balances, the intentional procedural roadblocks that prevent rapid, unilateral changes in the basic structure of governance, were explicitly designed to prevent consolidation of power in the hands of a tyrant. “We the people” are required to do our jobs, though, if this inspired structure is to function properly.
Our job is to think; to discern, to separate fact from fiction, not to be deluded by emotion, and to make judgments based on assessments of both individual and common good.
Our job is to act; to make choices based on reason, to be active protectors of our natural and civil rights, and to behave as if we actually believe that all people, and not just ourselves, are endowed with certain unalienable rights.
Our job is to resist; to identify injustice, to speak truth, to insist that our freedoms be respected, and to remember that our government should fear us, not the opposite.
Our nation was founded in defiance of tyranny. Let us remain vigilant; let us never forget that tyranny grows wherever it is allowed to, whenever we see it and do not raise the alarm.
Happy Independence Day to you all.