Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Freedom and Consequences

I've been thinking a lot about freedom, responsibility, and consequences recently. I recall a time in high school that a teacher in my high school jokingly said to me, "Come on, kid, you don't have a choice" as I dragged myself into my first class of the morning. Now, the first thing to understand is that I am never at my best in the morning. Even as a student athlete when I would swim a morning practice, shower off, and run to homeroom before school began, there was no guarantee that I would be awake even after a few thousand meter swim. But, sleepy as I was, this woke me up. I stopped, looked into his face, and replied, "Oh yes, I do have a choice. I just have to face the consequences of whatever choice I make."

And ultimately, freedom entails the freedom to accept that one's actions have consequences. My decision to learn the banjo has meant spending money and time that could have been spent, I suppose, in another way. But it also means that I can play "Skip to My Lou" on the banjo. My decision to keep up a blog has opened opportunities for me to meet all kinds of neat people and to improve my writing.

And sometimes other people make decisions that have far-reaching consequences. Years ago, Mr. Bush made a decision that is still having consequences for my family, but Mr. Bush was not the only person to make decisions regarding the violence of war. Each member of Congress, each voter in this country made decisions that are still reverbrating today. The current Congress recently passed a bill to continue funding the current war, but to place limits on that funding, and Mr. Bush says that he will choose to veto that bill.

Perhaps Mr. Bush believes that his decisions will no longer have personal consequences because he will not be standing for election at the end of this term, and because he does not have anyone close to him who stands to face the consequences of his decision. But he is wrong. Each of us makes decisions every day and those decision help to make us who we are. I would urge Mr. Bush to bear in mind that even at this late date, the gates of repentence stand open and it is possible to avert some of the consequences of earlier decisions.

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