Our freedom is never absolute. We must be able to transcend some of our own self-interests for the welfare of our community, as a whole. If we are not thinking about the greater good for all of us and only the individual freedom of myself then we would not be able to live in harmony with all around us.

“Give me liberty or give me death,” was said by Patrick Henry. Some folks have taken this to their deathbed and clumsy, at best leadership in some cases, toxic politics, and hardheaded folks are taking personal freedom and turning it against their neighbors and friends.

In the early 1890’s “Typhoid Mary” fought the authorities and sued to have her rights while contaminating many people because she did not want the government to tell her what to do. She fought for her rights and freedoms, and by exercising them infected others and killed many.

In general: We have lost being civil to each other, we have been so divided that we have lost the compassion for each other and we have lost the humanity of understanding the importance of common good.

Our personal freedom is in jeopardy because we are destroying the very fiber of our nation. We are dividing our nation and seem to be unable to work together for the common good.

This is no longer about COVID-19. This has gone beyond the argument of wearing a mask or not, beyond getting vaccinated or not, this has gotten to the very core of our existence as a nation united. We are killing ourselves from within. That is how I see it. Yet I see hope!

I bring up the inhumanity to each other and reflect on the generals who we have in charge, and how they also have become political pawns in the musical chairs of politics. I think about how all of this affects each and every one of us veterans that are fighting for the health care we desperately need. With all this turmoil, what is going to keep level heads that determine when and where we go to war? How will we be treated when we come home?

Are we going to be guinea pigs for the experimental cures that might be developed in a lab? These things have happened in the past and will they happen now or in the future? We need to be diligent and think about these things because with all this chaos, a lot might be going on that is covered by the noise in the foreground. Call me paranoid, but I only have to reflect on the past treatment of our military and our troops needing care when they come home and I realize that my thoughts are based on facts. Facts that I perceive to be righteous and if you think differently, we still have the option of finding a place that we might work out a solution with civility. Light at the end of the tunnel!

I have been working for years picking up the pieces of wars and conflicts and have come to the conclusion that what is being said and acted out in public is not always what is going on behind closed doors. The Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and, I am sure, other wars that were started with dubious pretexts.

If war can be started under those circumstances, then the civilians that determine those wars are the very ones that end up determining what we will spend and equip our military, and the same folks who will determine how we are taken care of when we come home. I might not want to place my full faith and trust in them doing the right thing for me. We need to make sure our military is well supplied, trained and the care is there for us when we come home. Yes, we need to be diligent in making sure our elected officials are doing the will of us, not their partisan agenda.

I am concerned about the disconnect between the political parties, the discourse in our community about COVID, and the fact that our military and our veterans are at the mercy of those who are not working together — and that concerns me. It concerns me because I do not think many are able to think straight, and some are the ones who have the power of conflict or helping us get the care we need when we come home.

The quote that I end with brings a little light.

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to please to do what is right.” — Peter Marshall (Chaplain of U.S. Senate, 1947).

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, help@veteranadvocates.org or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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