Sunday, May 26, 2024

Life, liberty ... and the pursuit of lemonade

by Robert Seymour
| September 17, 2011 6:55 PM

Forbes did a story in August about an “inexplicable war” that merits some consideration. No, not the inexplicable war in Libya, or the one in Afghanistan. It was “The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands,” and it proves that nothing makes sense anymore.

If kids can’t have lemonade stands in Iowa or Wisconsin, then what’s the point of telling them to grow up and fight for freedom in Afghanistan or Iraq? With the world so topsy-turvy, what’s the point of telling them anything? Hey kids, lemonade is bad; terrorism not so much.

But just in case you still care, get out your calendars and circle the month of September. No, September is not national lemonade month, well, not just yet anyway... September is when the UN will vote to recognize Palestine as a member state. Do you suppose this vote will be linked with a reciprocal recognition of Israel’s right to even exist? What? … you gotta be kidding!

The Iranian president said recently that there will be no room for Israel in the region after the formation of a Palestinian state. Oh, and that once the state is established… the liberation of all Palestinian lands should follow.

Obama? He is silent. No doubt puttering around. Gosh, good thing Tehran’s nuclear intentions are peaceful.

And then there is Syria, Iran’s best buddy in the region, where protesters are served up bullets, mortars and tanks on a daily basis while the world yawns. Why should we care if masked gunmen drag Syria’s best-known political cartoonist, Ali Ferzat, from his car and break both his hands leaving him bleeding along the side of a road? His offense? He dared to compare Syria’s president to Moammar Gaddafi.

So why should we care at all in America about this? Because this artist is a hero and his cartoons are fantastic. And here at home? (Has anyone in America simply tried to run a lemonade stand recently?) What has happened to FREEDOM in this country when we have the second in command to the president calling democratic protesters in our own country “terrorists”?

Freedom. That’s what we are supposed to cherish so much here in America… the individual freedoms delineated in the Bill of Rights. Little kids with lemonade stands, artists, political cartoonists writers and journalists, whether Dutch, Syrian or American, should all have freedom to live without fear of reprisal.

Joe Biden might want to break my hands and Maxine Waters might want to send me to Hell, but this is America, not Damascus. We still have freedom today under our Constitution; but freedom is not free.

The American Revolution changed the world. Now we have the right and duty to speak out against oppression. And so whether holding big government accountable for wanting to send us to Hell, or for breaking the hands of an artist, we have an obligation to be in solidarity with those who speak out against abusive government in whatever form.

Of course, the Leninists in Russia and Tiananmen Marxists in China will not even discuss U.S. and European sanctions for Syria, even as Assad machine guns, shells and bombards his own people. Why? Because when faced with the same kind of protests in their own countries, we know the authorities there would be slaughtering innocents in the streets of Moscow and Beijing as well. Kind of hard to condemn murder in one totalitarian country when you have an itchy trigger finger back in the homeland.

What government, when asked for liberty, shoots bullets? What form of government is so reprehensible and illegitimate that dissidents are taken away by masked thugs to be tortured, raped and killed with impunity? Remember, America, both how strong and how fragile freedom is. Liberty is the muscle of democracy. Use it or lose it.

We are still amazingly free in America to criticize our elected officials. I have enjoyed the freedom to express my opinion in this and other papers in our valley. But the relative freedom to speak out and challenge the policies of big government is reciprocal to the blood of the founders of limited government. When I saw an angry voter speak out to Obama about Joe Biden’s Terrorist Tea-Party remark the other day, I thought, Good!… Thank God he can still do that in this country!

Biden’s “terrorist” remark is a pompous provocation. Obama should have called on the VP to retract it and then lauded the American freedoms by which this man had the right to even question the president and be part of the political process. But we hear no such thing from the president. Freedom and democracy? No, not for the Tea Party! … only for the Libyans! Would our president go to war as easily to protect my right to compare Joe Biden to Gaddafi?

Stay tuned. Will Maxine Waters succeed in sending us all to Hell? She will if we do nothing to confront her arrogant threatening inflammatory vitriol. (No doubt, she would like to break my hands first if she could.)

Would the Democratic scoundrels in Washington even recognize the history of protest they purport to protect when they see it today in America? I think we all agree, Rosa Parks was a brave woman who stood up against oppression. Oh, but the Tea Party? …just a bunch of racist and terrorists! Are we supposed to bow down for our imperial landlords while they vacation at $17,542 an hour with the ghost of Imelda Marcos on Martha’s Vineyard?

How long must we suffer from the imperial buffoons in Washington? I guess as long as it takes for people to finally see that the emperor really has no clothes.

We can and we must fight for the right of people everywhere to speak their mind without fear. Is this still America? When lemonade stands are shut down around the country by the imperial landlords, maybe it is time to have massive lemonade stand/Tea Party style protests around the clock and around the country… maybe even right on the Mall in D.C.?

Of course, we would need to get a permit first. Well, I suppose if they need a permit in Beijing to sell lemonade, who are we in the land of the free and home of the brave to question the wisdom of our leaders in Washington for doing the same thing?

Wow, can’t you just see the Liberty Lemonade* mix flying off the shelf America?

Come to think of it, it’s really hot today and I’m kinda thirsty. Think I’ll go get some lemonade… Ah, Life, liberty and the pursuit of lemonade. Maybe Samuel Adams can even make a lemonade beer.

(* Liberty Lemonade is a registered trademark of Free Lemonade Stands International (FLSI). Act now while supplies last. Or, just squeeze a ripe politician if you want real lemons!)

Robert Seymour is a resident of Kalispell.