I am sad this morning with a sadness that I can’t shake. My sadness comes from from the nagging thought that has bothered most of my life since my late father-in-law said it casually at the dinner table when we were discussing politics. From a man who was denied an education because he was poor Jew in Poland, who lost his first wife and family in the Holocaust who escaped the Nazis and fought with the Polish Troops fighting with the Russians and who barely spoke the language of America and who worked tirelessly in a sweat shop to provide for his new family, he said to me words that haunt me to this day. “Eddie, you know Americans have too many freedoms…they have it too good.”
Now we all know that many Americans don’t have it good at all and it took me a while to understand the wisdom of what he was saying until perhaps this week. He was talking about the freedoms we have and in particular the freedom to be wrong and sometimes dead wrong as we are starting to witness from observing senior members of our government having had the freedom and protection of those freedoms allow them to make deadly choices first for others and now for themselves.
Americans have grown up with the mythology that there are checks and balances in our governments that ultimately protect the people and place a check on those who would abuse power. Well, America we are witnesses in the last few days to the extraordinary consequences of having allowed those checks and balances to fail and perhaps wipe out an entire government who exercised their freedom to make deadly decisions for others which has resulted in possibly their own demise.
One by one, in this Republican administration we are seeing potentially deadly casualties of what my father-in-law was discussing, the freedom to make bad choices. With all of our freedoms right and wrong has been supplanted with risk-benefit ratio and “it is what it is and live free and die” mentality.