Ben Baker is a sophomore journalism major and writes "The Baker's Dozen" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a choice on November 8. It is a choice that many nations before us have had to make, and now it is America’s turn. That choice is between freedom and security. If we were smart, we would choose freedom every time.
But right now, many people (myself included) believe that our constitutional freedoms are being eroded. We see our First Amendment right to freedom of speech being slowly stripped away by political correctness. We see our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms being threatened by those calling for increased gun regulations. Opinions on these issues differ, of course, but this is how I see it, as well as so many other Americans. Our founding fathers would be horrified if they could see what was going on in our country today. I say that with total confidence.
Why are we so quick to give our freedoms up? I recognize that American society has come a long way since the Constitution was drafted in 1787. We don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings or constantly hear about people dying in shootings. I don’t either. Americans want to feel safe and protected from harm and offensive words. I think that is why people are calling for Second Amendment reform and being more politically correct in their speech.
However, I believe these decisions are based more on emotion rather than reason. And that’s not necessarily a good thing, because emotions wear off. Right now, emotions are very high in this country, and we want to see actions taken to address them. So we feel that it’s OK to sacrifice some of our freedoms for the sake of emotional security.
But what happens when those emotions wear off? We suddenly realize that we want those rights back. However, that’s easier said than done. The nature of most governments, ours included, is to gain as much power as they can. They are hesitant to give up what they have. This could have all been avoided, had we not been too hasty to give up our freedoms in the heat of the moment.
Our founders recognized that the freedoms in the Bill of Rights were inherent to humanity. That’s why they tried to prevent the government from encroaching on them. However, the founders put great faith in the American people to be vigilant in protecting them. I believe that we have disappointed them greatly.
Our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, summed this idea up well when he said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Whether you like Reagan or not, this quote rings ever more true today than it did when he spoke it.
Let’s do the same, Cardinal Nation. Let’s protect that freedom that makes America the wonderful nation it is. We must always vote with freedom as the chief goal in mind, and never security. It is freedom that provides us security, but security doesn’t always provide us freedom. So what are we going to choose?
Vote wisely, Cardinals. America is counting on you.