The Cost of Freedom in 2020

I wrote the words below after the 2016 U.S. elections. This year, the issues seem completely different. But are they? True, we’ve had four years of bluster from a man who believes not so much in conservative values as in “winning.” And true, the man who’s now poised to win the presidency speaks more in terms of compassion and inclusiveness. But once the smoke of COVID-19 clears and the loose canon is set aside, will we continue on a path toward the very authoritarianism, whatever it’s label, we claim to abhor?

freedom

My country is slowly surrendering its freedom. The erosion of Constitutional principles grounded in the beliefs and values of our founders, the two-sided coin of freedom and responsibility, has left a vacuum that other ideologies are anxious to fill.

Two big-personalities entered the presidential race in 2015. On the surface they appeared to be at opposite ends of the spectrum: One, a feisty Jewish grandpa, represented the comfortable cocoon of democratic socialism, the other, a larger-than-life blusterer, represented the reactionary antithesis of protectionist nationalism. But what they had in common was that each brought with him a ready-made ideology to fill that abhorrent vacuum. The grandpa was set aside to make room for a more mainstream former president’s wife. But the blusterer shot through as the last-hope champion of the middle class, the one who would save “us” from “them.”

But the political spectrum isn’t a line that runs from left to right. It’s a wheel. And the two extremes conjoin at a spot called authoritarianism. In the new ideology-free America, the call is no longer for “someone who stands for what we believe in” but “someone who will tell us what to believe in.” It’s no longer government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” but government of, by, and for The Leader. What Leader? Any authoritarian figure who can give us what we want.

Namely security.

Are we like the Weimar Republic, the weak, loosely-confederated democracy that ruled Germany after World War I? Have we, like they, appointed a demagogue who will concentrate more and more power in himself, egged on by an anxious middle class? Or is he too weak and cartoonish to pull that off? Will he and the current majority fail to produce the “great” America they promised, resulting in a lurch in the opposite direction? Will some other paternalistic figure usher in a socialist-leaning version of authoritarianism that demands an equal surrender of our freedom and responsibility?

Freedom and responsibility. The two words are inseparable—the latter secures the former. And then there’s that word “secures” again. As soon as We the People allow someone other than ourselves to make us secure, we surrender our responsibility. And as soon as we surrender our responsibility…

We surrender our freedom.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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34 Responses to The Cost of Freedom in 2020

  1. rulookingforjesus says:

    Like this a lot

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Christi says:

    Perfect time to repost this, Mitch.
    I’ve been listening to a podcast by Brian McClaren called Learning How to See. The focus is how to recognize and move beyond our biases. Maybe then we’ll have a chance to work together, changing one heart at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dessertflower5 says:

    Love this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’re heading in weird directions. Now we need to figure out how to change course.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chris Ciccarelli says:

    So well said! I just can’t see why people, good Christian people can’t see this. My sister for one. When I try to discuss abortion she refuses to go there. On occasion she’s told me Trump might be the Anti-Christ. I’ve told her only God knows who that is/will be.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  6. robstroud says:

    Politics is dangerous ground for a blogger. That said, I fully agree with your thesis.

    The danger lurks where we talk about the specifics (i.e. the individuals involved). For example, as far as loose cannons go… there is great uncertainty about the actual programs that any politician will implement until after they are in office and control the reins of power. Most “promise” the world… and deliver a bowl of pottage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful observation, Rob. Just a clarification re. the “loose canon” remark: I was referring to the widespread perception, even by Trump’s supporters, that his unchecked announcements, more than his administration’s policies, will (have?) cost him his job.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. gifted50 says:

    Frightening in its truth!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. carolannec says:

    The US has had a tough time these last years.
    Praying for better ahead though external pressures will continue for some time.
    “Democracy is a participation sport.” We all need to choke down our gag reflexes and engage positively with politics.
    Be the new voice, educate the next voices, breed politicians who steer governance back towards solutions and service to the people and put showmanship and personality voting firmly to our stern.
    Then keep paddling!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. grAnnie Roo says:

    So very well said, Sir, I’m looking around for my hoodie – in 80-degree weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. revruss1220 says:

    Bravo! I just really love the depth and thoroughness of the case you present here, Mitch. And I couldn’t agree more with your conclusion. And while I am not at all a fan of the “current resident,” I have to admit that he has motivated a lot more people to get directly involved in the process.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Clever Girl says:

    How ’bout those Dodgers though?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: The Cost of Freedom in 2020 -hat tip mitchteemley.com – Uncoffined

  13. uncoffined says:

    A very thoughtful post that also applies to New Zealand, yet it doesn’t ruffle any feathers in what is a deeply divisive subject to some.
    For some reason, the USA election is a very hot topic here in New Zealand, even thou it’s really none of our business

    Liked by 1 person

  14. cindy knoke says:

    Beautifully stated Mitch. Thank you for your ethics and your concerns. I share both.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jon says:

    If Christians meditated on the the scripture in even a cursory manner, they would find that the responsibility they are shirking is to know the One in whose image we are made, and living up to that pattern in the indwelling power and revealed truth we have been gifted.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. BGCT2VA says:

    Mr. Trump certainly is / was an imperfect messenger that shown a spotlight on some of the problems we are currently facing in our society.
    Would he have faced the same opposition from his adversaries? Quite probably, yes. But, he may have garnered more widespread support from those turned off by his bombastic ways and too frequent personal attacks. Whatever happens in the coming days with regard to the election results one thing is certain. A very large segment of the American public has been awakened.
    During this past year or so, I could not help but thinking back to two books read a number of years ago: The Spike, by Arnaud DeBorchgrave and also, Windswept House , by Malachi Martin. Both have proven to be almost prophetic.
    Enjoyed your post and perhaps, when the dust has settled (if not immediately) we can all commit to be again civil to and prayerful for one another. Let’s hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: The Cost of Freedom in 2020

  18. Ann Coleman says:

    I agree with every word…..

    Liked by 1 person

  19. gregoryjoel says:

    To paraphrase Ben Franklin – those who want freedom and security deserve neither… Thank you for your words Mitch.

    Like

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