The Plight of Free Thinkers

Frederick Douglas provided a great statement on individualism after the Civil War was over in explanation to his former master: “I have often thought I should like to explain to you the grounds upon which I have justified myself in running away from you,” wrote Douglass. “I am almost ashamed to do so now, for by this time you may have discovered them yourself. I will, however, glance at them.” You see, said Douglass,

I am myself; you are yourself; we are two distinct persons, equal persons. What you are, I am. You are a man, and so am I. God created both, and made us separate beings. I am not by nature bound to you, or you to me. Nature does not make your existence depend upon me, or mine to depend upon yours. I cannot walk upon your legs, or you upon mine. I cannot breathe for you, or you for me; I must breathe for myself, and you for yourself. We are distinct persons, and are each equally provided with faculties necessary to our individual existence. In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living. Your faculties remained yours, and mine became useful to their rightful owner.”

My own opinion is that In being “free thinkers” we must also be fiercely protective of the rights of the individual. While we must all depend upon each other to some extent, we have to be careful not to go too far. We give over too much now in the way of our individual thinking to the collective “aura” of those who control us through money.

These are my beliefs

Everytime I hear the national anthem, I still get chill bumbs and tears still fill my eyes. When I see the flag of my country flying high from a flagpole, I am so proud to be an American. I hate to see it abused, I have reported municipalities and schools in the past for not taking down the flag and taking care of it. I also, cried like a baby when Johnny Cash sang “Ragged Old Flag” before the not so “Super Bowl” a few days back.

Most of my ancestors have been in this country since the earliest of early times. I have half a dozen who fought in the Revolutionary War, and a dozen who fought in the Civil War. I have Native American ancestors by the dozens also. My roots go very deeply in this beloved soil we call America…and I call my home.

My Daddy fought in World War II and Korea…and went into the fog soup of radiation on a Navy ship right after they tested the Atomic bomb at Enewetak atoll in 1946. I’m certain part of his health problems later in life were due to this, but he never got a dime. He never asked.

I grew up with many of you who are my Facebook friends. We were close in Trion. Most of our experiences were practically the same. We had the same teachers, the same “mill town” environment, where most of our Daddy’s and Momma’s worked their rears off in the cotton mill to raise us kids. To give use things they never were able to have during their depression years of growing up.

I graduated with many of you, I have worked with some of you over the years. I went to college with some of you. Some of you I have never met, except through Facebook.

I have been a religious man over the years. I was baptized when I was 8 years old, in a Southern Baptist Church. I spent 52 years as a member, including 12 years as a deacon. I became disillusioned about 6 years ago and now keep my own peace…but I respect the beliefs of everyone, as long as their beliefs are peaceful.

I have hunted, with bow and with gun. I have fished the rivers and the lakes…the streams and the creeks of this wonderful country.

I don’t care how many guns you own, as long as you are careful with what you got…and you know you are responsible for how they are used.

I don’t personally believe in abortion. I would counsel any family member or friend who comes to me against it. However, I do not believe it is my responsibility to tell other people what they should or should not do. (see three paragraphs back)

I’m an opinionated man. Anybody who knows me well, knows that. My opinions are not shared by a lot of people. I know that. For many years, it has been much easier to keep my own counsel concerning things I believe and don’t believe, and how I believe. With the coming of “social media” it has become harder and harder to actual have opinions, and have them ON “social media” without it causing hatred, hard feelings, name calling, and other myriad of bad things. Things which cause emotional and physical reactions, which a man with my problems doesn’t need. It’s hard for me to not make comments and share my opinions. It’s almost impossible for me really. I think it goes back to the old “blank page” syndrome for me….in which if I open Facebook and start reading stuff I just have a compulsion to open my mouth and say something….or write something on my timeline….my own “blank page”

Some of it may be the chance to finally have somebody “like” what you write….but unfortunately also have many “hate” what you write…as it pertains to politics, and perhaps also as it pertains to religion. I’ve tried keeping it mostly to photograhy which I love..but which I’m not that great at, and also some “homey” writing…which I also like to do, but which is mediocre for the most part.

I have said all of this, and have come this far with this post just to say that in my condition as a human being it’s in my best interest to stay disconnected for a while, think things over, and see what happens from there. There are a lot of things I am not happy with that are going on, and one of them is me. My attitude, my feelings, my need to gain more empathy and understanding for others.

There are many who are so unreachable in the security of their opinions and beliefs, as to never be able to be persuaded by either reason or love…by compromise or negotiation, by anger or pathos, that we humans, we Americans, have so much more in common than we have different. We cannot see past our bias and our ignorance to realize that once…we liked each other, perhaps once we even loved each other, but we let it slip away and we let it go just because we HAD to be the one who was right.

I don’t have to be right all the time. Neither do any of you people. If we just realize that, then perhaps we could see a little more peace in this lifetime.