July 10, 2003

I was walkin' around the

I was walkin' around the block a couple minutes ago ('bout midnight), thinking out a post on political philosophy (and one that I should have typed out and posted this weekend or sooner). I'm wearing cutoff shorts and no shirt; I'm a dark-skinned, male 18 year old. Fairly suspicious, I guess, especially in the middle of the night. (Apparently, there are persons who don't use the Internet except for email and stuff, and these alleged persons have something they call "bed time" roughly corresponding to my "post-dinner Internet binge".)

Anyway, I see a pair of headlights coming toward me. I'm not wearing my contacts (and it's dark anyway), so I didn't realize it was a police cruiser until he was almost up to me. I wondered if he'd pull over, ask me where I was going, etc. I wouldn't have minded -- I'm not one of these idiotarian, cop-hating minorities who wear t-shirts like "Bad cop, no donut" and wonder why they get harrassed when pulled over for going eighty in a fifty-five zone. But I digress...

The cruiser flashed his lights and kept going. Then I remembered, hey... this is America. He didn't have the right to ask me what I was doing. I'm an adult, a law-abiding citizen, and not only do I have the freedom to go wherever I want, I don't have to answer for my actions to any agent of the government. I was walking on public property -- MY property, as a shareholder in the business that is America. Even in semi-liberal nations like France, the police could ask me for my papers: but not here.

Thank God for this country. Seriously. Get on your knees and thank the God who gives you the right to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness that two hundred-odd years ago, a group of men decided it was high time the ordinary people got to exercise those inalienable rights.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world wide-welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
" Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp ! " cries she
With silent lips. " Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door ! "
-Emma Lazarus

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