FREEDOM – Marilyn Armstrong

OBSERVE AND REMAIN MINDFUL OF FREEDOM

I want everything to last forever.

When I buy a television, I don’t expect to ever buy another one. I will keep using the old one until it simply won’t work anymore … or someone gently tells me that I really need a new one.

“Oh,” I say, “But I just bought this one.”

“You bought it 14 years ago. I can’t even connect most things to it. It doesn’t have the right connections.”

“Is it really that long ago? It seems like yesterday.”

It does seem like yesterday because I can remember buying it. I remember deciding which TV would give us the best pictures, be reliable. Which is how come it lasted 14 years. Actually, it still works. It’s just too old to be of much value — and too huge to get rid of, so I guess it will live in the basement forever.

The only things I buy more or less on schedule are computers because operating systems change and software won’t run on old systems. I don’t want to get new computers. In fact, I hate new computers. Setting them up is a total pain in the butt. But I cope — because I know I need them.

On the other hand, things like refrigerators, washing machines, ovens? The roof, the water heater, the floor, the sinks and toilets — aren’t they forever? Don’t you buy them once and then you never have to worry about them again?

I’m on my third water heater and beginning to worry about the roof. I’m discovering that the vinyl siding wasn’t as permanent an investment as I thought it was … and the ants keep coming back.

Just to remind me how impermanent the world truly is, the rights we fought so hard to create, the young are fighting for them. Again.

Early 1900’s protests against the czar in Russia

How can that be? How can we have made so much progress and find ourselves back — not only where we were, but back to where my parents were. I feel like we haven’t regressed to the 1950s, but more like the 1930s.

The changes we make, the changes we paid for, fought for, battled for … they are supposed to be forever or at least for our lifetime. The roof should never need to be replaced. The heating system should be a lifetime investment.

Freedom should be given — and once achieved, you should always be free. We should never need to battle again for the right to live our lives as we please. Personally, I don’t think we should have to fight for it in the first place. We should be born free and take on obligation only by choice.

Freedom has come and gone many times throughout human history. Rome was free until it wasn’t. Greece was free … until it wasn’t. Many countries were briefly free, until swallowed up or conquered by others. I guess it’s our turn, my turn, to realize that the freedom I thought we’d won was merely a respite from the despotism of the world.

I’m not sure why it’s like this. Why is it freedom for which we need to fight? Why doesn’t tyranny require a battle? Why do the bad guys always seem tp have the upper hand?

I think it’s because we let them. We say “Oh, a few huge corporations won’t really matter” and then we look around and the entire world is made up of huge corporations and we don’t matter. We give up our freedom incrementally.

We surrender it for higher wages, cheaper toys, nicer cars. We give it up because it sounded like fun and we don’t see the down side. We elect the wrong people because they sound good. We fail to examine if they are really who they say or are capable of being who we need.

We do it. Ourselves. We give up our freedom in tiny pieces until we have nothing left to lose.

Freedom is a costly gift which does not come to us without commitment and a battle. I didn’t imagine I would live long enough to need to fight for it twice. Is that some kind of bizarre payback for living  a longer life?

18 thoughts on “FREEDOM – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I often think just the same Marilyn. I do accept that appliances wear out and old houses need to be renovated but I didn’t expect that we’d find ourselves fighting for rights we thought we’d already won. Almost daily I hear stories about employers who take advantage of workers, people are expected to get more work done in less time with fewer people, they are expected to work any hours the boss sets but can be given the boot for no real reason. They put up with being treated badly because they need the money. I was never a huge fan of unions when I was working although I belonged to one in the railways.I didsee the value of having an organisation to speak for you when you had to deal with authority and didn’t know how to go about it. I think the rot had started to set in when they failed to protect our jobs from being outsourced.
    I sometimes feel that low income earners and the jobless are almost as badly off today as in the thirties. I think this may be even more true for you in the USA where I know that the minimum wage is lower than here. I don’t know how we fix this. I didn’t know we were going to have to fix it again.

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    1. The only thing that keeps me going is realizing that this comes around and around. It has before. It will again. We live longer, so we get to see it happen twice, but that IS apparently the price. It seems so unfair, though.

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  2. I admit that I’ve taken freedom for granted my entire life. At least I did until about 18 months ago. Now I’m worried that freedom is steadily being chipped away at and if we — if I — don’t do something to protect it, it will be gone. I hope it’s not already too late to save it.

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    1. You do what you can and I do what I can, but in the end, it is going to take a crowd of youngsters who vote to make it stick — until the next time. AND you can bet: there WILL be a next time. Apparently, there’s ALWAYS a next time. We just got lucky to live to see it twice in one lifetime.

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  3. Speaking of TVs, the most recent don’t have onboard controls anymore. Everything is done with the remote. So if your remote fails, and they do, or someone steps on it, or in your case, a furry creature decides it tastes good.., you’re screwed. You might be able to buy a new one, or a universal one but if they are no longer making accessories for that model, Guess what? You gotta buy a new TV. It’s the old “two steps forward, one step backward” syndrome.., or is it the other way round? Planned obsolescence.

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    1. Our relatively newish TV does have minimal controls, but you can get ANY remote for just about anything ever made at Remote.com. Not cheap, but a lot less than a new TV. It saved our lives with Tinker, who chewed EVERYTHING.

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  4. That’s the price of true democratic rights, Marilyn, eternal vigilance. Tyranny arises because the few benefit from the subjugation of the many. I think that life is an eternal battle and now it’s our turn to show the youth how to do it.
    Leslie

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    1. It’s time the youngsters showed US the way because it’s going to take a slew of them — voting — to get things back to rights. For all the fury a few weeks ago, it’s back to being all “wishes and prayers” again. I don’t see ANY real change. It brings back memories. The good news is that eventually, it DID work but it took a long time.

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  5. I once made a comment in Letter to the Editor in our local Newspaper. The next day I was visited by a CSIS agent (Canadian Secret Service) who was actually sent my workplace to check me out. Yeah. You could hardly find a patriotic guy than me, but it really made me wonder what’s going on. Up here Government power is placed above individual Rights. That’s actually embedded in out Charter of Rights and Freedoms. People don’t realize this because they don’t read it carefully. The VERY thing that has made the US the greatest country of our era is the fact that it’s fundamental principle of the sanctity of individual personal space -FREEDOM – is the foundational principle of your Charter. Your forefathers were enlightened men because this is in perfect alignment with Spiritual Law. Unfortunately, we see very few such enlightened men around these days.

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    1. With some unfortunate exceptions, the guys who wrote the Constitution were smart. Also, they had just had to break away from a king and they really wanted to make sure they didn’t create another. Who knew how easy it would be and that we would not call them kings at all, but corporations? Your official head are government agents. Ours are Big Business. I’m not sure which is worse, but frankly, I’m inclined to Big Business.

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  6. The downside to home ownership. I’m bad at the ‘big picture’ and long term thinking, and it just occurred to me this year that things like the roof, the furnace, the water heater, and appliances and toys will have to be replaced. Almost makes me miss renting, except I remember too clearly being at the mercy of someone else in terms of what rent they expected (or lease amount) and what I could do, even though I’d paid to live where-ever. I have a vision of renting, in one of those communities for the golden year people, but have heard the cost is more than I can afford. So for people like myself? That longer and longer life is mainly a burden. I hope you find some happy middle ground where things are affordable and yet last more than 2 seconds.

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    1. Unless we go back to tents and caves, we buy or rent and one way or the other, we also PAY. If you are rich enough to get a place where the landlord does your every bidding, you can probably afford a house you can maintain. So then the only choice is whether or not YOU want to be in charge, or you want someone else to do ‘the dirty work.’ But yes, everything has to be replaced eventually. I have NO idea why I didn’t imagine it would happen to me.

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