By Tab Moura
It’s become common to have a challenging relationship with the government. Can you believe they passed THAT bill? Did you read the tweet from such-n-such representative? UGH. I don’t feel like anyone is really listening anymore. The nature of some comments I’ve read lately go as far as to say they hate our flag, or don’t feel proud of our nation. So you can imagine my anxiety trying to think of what to share for such an occasion, like Independence Day.
Now, before you assume I don’t have a bone to pick with the government, let me just dispel that real quick. I have bones. I have a whole pile of them. But I have come to make a major distinction, both for my sanity and my energy. Being thankful to live in America is not the same as being blind to how it could be better.
I believe, after living abroad and seeing what other free countries are like, that being in this country gives me the most opportunity to make the world a better place. I can only speak for myself, perhaps someone else has traveled or lived abroad and came to a different conclusion. And guess what? This is America, we can disagree and that doesn’t make either of us wrong. I believe that living in the United States gives me the most opportunities to make the world a better place. That statement makes no difference to either of us if I’m not actually out here trying to make the world a better place. On that note, even if we disagree, I am so thankful we have the right to do so.
Part of why I write so openly about medical cannabis, natural medicine, freedom of information, and medical freedom, is because in this country, I can use platforms like this to make a difference in my community. Yes, other countries have the internet, other countries have representatives appointed by the people, other countries ____. According to some studies, America isn’t even ranked in the top 10 of the freest nations in the world. The point, again, is not that we are a perfect nation, or even the only free nation, but that we are a place of opportunity. Whether you were born here, or came here by choice, you have opportunities.
Rights to a fair trial. Some countries do not have juries, and your fate is determined by a single judge.
Rights to marry who you want. This is a more recent change for our country, but there are many places where this is still not recognized.
Rights to be counted equal. In the United States, when discrimination occurs, citizens have a right to legal action. So while discrimination does still exist, you have the option to defend yourself.
Rights to religious freedom. We may all believe differently, and practice faith how we wish, without discrimination. Places like France have bans on religious face coverings, for example. In the US we just ask that your practice doesn’t cause anyone harm.
Rights to information. This one is a biggie these days. Did you know that in places like China, the government can censor anything from foreign business competition, international news, and even various versions of the Bible? In Russia, news organizations can be shut down for criticizing the government.
I could continue… freedom to vote, freedom to own property, freedom to physically defend yourself… None of these freedoms are exclusive to us. The important thing is that you have them, and you have the right to advocate for additional freedoms, additional changes, additional protections. Just look how much progress we have made, state after state, to give people access to cannabis! It’s easy to focus on how it never should have been prohibited. It’s easy to rant about Bills and Laws that aren’t free enough. I for one feel momentum building… change may be slow, but it’s steady. Hallelujah.