As America celebrates its freedom this Independence Day, it is worth putting down the hot dogs and chips for just a brief moment to ponder the state of freedom we're attending barbecues for.
Get out the lapel pins and wave your flag as the words parade by. Freedom is well-worth celebrating.
At this time of jubilee for freedom, it's particularly well-worth noting the freedom for the nation of Iraq won by American forces. Over 20,000 Americans have given their lives or been wounded in a war that ultimately brought freedom to the Iraqi people.
These are horrible numbers, but the cause of freedom, whenever it occurs, even if it comes as an afterthought to looking for WMDs, is an absolutely noble one. To accept such casualties is deeply painful, yet knowing that the result is freedom gives at least a sense of purpose.
And a world of irony.
Who knew that the order of the universe was something dreamed up by Lewis Carroll on one of his most madly fevered days? Alice wandering dazed in Wonderland had nothing on this.
Try to follow the bouncing rabbit:
When the NSA was revealed to be spying on Americans, the public was told that certain limitations on our freedom must be accepted because we were in a War on Terrorism.
When telephone companies gave private information about Americans, it was explained that when fighting the War on Terrorism, Americans must accept some limitations on our freedom.
When newspapers wrote about American financial records being tapped from the SWIFT interbank society (public information that SWIFT"s own website discloses openly and freely), Americans are told by a "horrified" government that the First Amendment freedom of the press should have limitations, indeed investigations, since we are in a War on Terrorism.
In short, we are told, life changed after 9/11, and the United States of America must adjust to the new conditions, even if that means limiting some of our freedoms...
...all the while sending 2,500 Americans to their deaths, and 18,000 more Americans to be injured or maimed, fighting to preserve those very same freedoms in Iraq we're limiting here in the United States.
Sometimes logic and irony spin so much that your head just wants to implode.
While it would be nice to have someone explain that contradictory concept, the human body can only take so much Jabberwocky. You expect to see a sign above the Oval Office, "Gibberish Spoken Here." Where's the Scott McClellan Roadshow when you really need it?
So, tiptoeing cautiously through the minefield alone, protected only by a flashlight, pen knife and dog-eared Constitution, let's try to untangle this convolution. Obviously there must be a logic hidden deep in there, somewhere.
Okay, the United States is in a war that has been code-named Operation Enduring Freedom. Got it. Clearly, therefore, having freedom endure is a good thing. Right? Fair enough. And in order to allow freedom to endure in Iraq, we have to limit it here in the United States.
No, wait, that just can't be right.
Ah, maybe it's this -
We have to limit freedom in the United States, so that we can bring enduring freedom to Iraq.
No, that doesn't make any sense either.
Here's the conundrum: if one think's it okay to limit freedoms for a greater cause, that cause can't be fighting for freedom. And if one thinks the greater cause is freedom, then limiting those freedoms can't be justified.
Nothing else makes any sense.
Yet...that's the snake oil the Bush Administration is trying to sell. And an acquiescent portion of the American public does seem willing to buy it and grin as they guzzle it down.
The problem is, when you drink snake oil to get rid of your rheumatism, you not only still end up with rheumatism, but a sick stomach, as well. Sorry, an enduring sick stomach.
On Independence Day, when the flag goes by, we all know that it's our cherished freedom Americans are saluting. That's why, whatever differences of opinion exist in the country, there is one thing, for certain, everyone does agree on - the soldiers in Iraq are not fighting and dying to make sure we protect the right to limit freedom back home.