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Monday, February 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Guest Opinion: Tanner Rowe: Liberty is America’s forgotten foundation

Tanner Rowe

“We once held these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We once aspired to, promoted and cultivated intellectual discussion and the free exchange of ideas. We once understood that if a philosophy were superlative it would not have to be forced upon our fellow countrymen. We understood the most righteous and indubitable philosophies of mind, spirit and politics would stand upon their own merit or die in the wake of their own fallacies. We once understood that rights did not require the time, talent or fortune of our fellow man.

America has never been perfect. Our history is stained with a variety of events antithetical to the ideals of Liberty. Having said that, our saving grace is that upon recognition of such events we have done our best to fix the injustices perpetrated against our countrymen, and continue to do so.

The current political divide stipulates that you align with one political party or the other. It demands strict adherence to the rigid tenets promoted by either party. If you do not conform, you’re an “other.” To be an “other” means to be shouted down, ridiculed and defamed. Often by your own party, or both. Our media, and social media, drive a splitting maul into this unfortunate divide, propelling and promoting stories certain to provoke outrage and anger among Americans. This repetitive and relentless tactic is resultant in turning our cultural-political divide into a colossal chasm.

The panacea to our current condition is to regain our understanding of Liberty. Before we were divided into political parties, sexual orientations, ethnicities, genders, Christians, atheists, hipsters, rednecks, blue collar or white collar … we were individuals. Individuals, unequivocally, are the most precious minority we have in this country.

Individual liberty stipulates that so long as one does not harm or detract from another individual’s life, liberty, property or wealth they should be able to live the life that suits them. We lost our way when we forgot this elementary yet imperative principle and commenced our collective assault upon the liberties of our fellow man.

Individual liberty comes at the expense of understanding. If we want liberty we need to understand that there are going to be individuals who live a life and make choices that you do not agree with. And guess what? That’s OK.

Our right to speak freely, to debate, to assemble, to worship a higher power or not, to defend ourselves, to pursue our individual versions of happiness, are more important than whether or not the individual across the street agrees with our personal choices.

Conservatives, if you’re against same-sex marriage and profess that it somehow devalues the sanctity of traditional marriage, you need to have a serious gut check. We straight folks decided marriage’s sanctity and value when we drove divorce rates up to 50% in this country.

Liberals, if you’re against the Second Amendment, stop shouting from the rooftops that fascists and Nazis have taken over our government. If you believe we have fascism developing and taking root in this nation, now more than ever we need our firearms.

To some this idea may come across as moral relativism. To others it may come across as the acceptance of bigotry or hate. We, as Americans, need to stop trying to legislate morality. We need to stop trying to silence our countrymen and depriving them of their liberty. We need to stop dictating how others should live their lives.

This anti-American idea that we must adhere to a party and vote for a lesser of two evils has done nothing but sow anger and hatred among us. Evil begets evil. We need to wake up to that fact and start affording our fellow man the liberty we demand for ourselves. As I previously stated, throughout history we Americans have always done our best to fix our injustices. It’s time we fix the injustices we’ve been perpetrating against ourselves. Liberty needs to be back in political fashion.

Tanner Rowe is a lifelong Spokane resident, former Matt Shea supporter, and host of Podcast Northwest.

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