Friday, May 6, 2011

The Power to Choose

Every person born on this earth has free will. They have the ability to make choices. Nobody can take away the ability of another to choose. By force, they may alter the number of choices available, but they still do not remove the ability of the person to choose. For instance, a man may choose to hold a gun to my head. He may threaten me with death if I do not do what he tells me to do. He has limited the number of choices I have to two, obedience or disobedience, but he has not been able to take them away from me completely. I still have control, just not as much control as I might prefer. So long as we know and understand this simple truth about our free will, no man can take our freedom from us nor ever truly enslave us.

The only way that one man can take away the freedom of another man is to convince him through coercion to relinquish his freedom. For instance, in the example above, the gunman may try to convince me through the threat of death that I have no choice but to comply with his demands. My fear may then lead me to trust that the same man who thinks nothing of taking another human life in order to accomplish his aims will have enough honor to keep his word to me and allow me to live. I may then do what he desires, and console myself that I had no choice. The truth, however, is that we always have a choice but many times courage is required for us to exercise our freedom, stand up for ourselves, and make the right choice.

There are many people in our nation who have allowed themselves to become convinced that they are helpless. I shudder every time I hear someone utter the words, "You can't change city hall" or even worse to hear them blame the government for the problems we face today. Many people have become so convinced there is nothing they can do that they have reached a state of apathy, believing that nothing they do will change anything and so they do nothing. No one is helpless. Everyone can make a difference. Everyone has something to offer and every choice you make matters. If you do not like where things are today, step up to the plate and work to change it. Will you always succeed? No. Is it worth trying? Always. Just standing up may be enough to encourage others to give it a try.

Stop waiting for someone else to save you. The government cannot keep you safe. They cannot prevent natural disasters, and they cannot predict every terrorist plot. No one on this earth can keep you safe from harm, and if you stop and think about it would you really want them to if they could? I have news for you: if you breathe oxygen you will die. It may happen today, or tomorrow, or 100 years from now but it will happen. It's one thing we all have in common. The only question, then, is what you will be remembered for when you leave this earth. Will you be remembered as a coward who gave in to every demand or as a hero who stood up for those things that were worth fighting for and, even if you didn't win, at least went down swinging? You have the power to choose. Use it.

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