Freedom, like saying I love you, is nothing without accountability.
We all want to feel the butterflies that come with feeling in love. But love is not so much a feeling as it is acceptance. When the masks come off and we can look at our partner, see them for who they are—both the good and the not so good—without looking away, that’s love.
Simone de Beauvoir may have wished “that every human life might be pure, transparent freedom;” but when one person’s freedom trespasses on another’s freedom, then it no long is freedom.
Our legal system endeavors to protect the rights of the accused, often at the expense of the victim. Consider that the burglar bitten by the dog owned by the residents of the home into which he has trespassed can sue for medical expenses and pain and suffering. He is free to do so because our legal system allows it; but in my mind, he sacrificed his freedom when he infringed on the freedom of others to live a life free from his criminal intent. In short, his freedom lacks accountability.
I’m a proponent of equal pay in the workplace; but such equality should not extend to the single mother who takes liberties by leaving early each Friday to attend a son’s football games, while I, because I’m single and live alone, am required to work longer hours. Such freedom does not, nor should it, equate to equality in the workplace. Let’s call it what it is: preferential treatment.
The young woman who agrees to unprotected sex is free to later abort an unwanted fetus because it is her body. But her decision to not say no to unprotected sex shows a lack of accountability for the same reason: it is her body.
The star athlete who endeavors to achieve an edge over his competition through use of illegal substances should be held accountable for his actions.
Our Constitution says nothing about the right to drive an automobile. This is a privilege; yet few view it as such. An automobile, when driven without accountability, is akin to a two-ton weapon. The motorist who kills another motorist, or a pedestrian, while talking on a cell phone or eating fast food should be held to the same standard as the motorist who commits the felony of driving while drunk.
On June 11, 1963, John F. Kennedy said, in his civil rights address, “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
While it is true that inequality still exists in this country, between both gender and race, it is also true that many erroneously hold freedom as a right and not a privilege. This country was founded on the basis that everyone should have the same right, or freedom, to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation to make something of themselves. Sadly, in the last half-century, this nation has grown selfish with regard to its freedoms, to the exclusion of others if it should benefit the individual.
I know the views expressed here will be met with hostility from some and I’m okay with that; but I’m practicing my freedom to express them. I hold that the nation our forefathers envisioned can be achieved only through freedom with accountability, for freedom alone, without accountability, seeds anarchy.