Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the interest of a broader discourse

The privilege of living in a democracy is the freedom to express one's ideas without fear of political, economic or military retribution. It's every American citizen's constitutional right.

Within this marketplace of ideas, we have the freedom to think for ourselves, to study ideas other than our own, to analyze them with a critical mindset, not so much as to find fault with these ideas, but to give them an opportunity to present their case in front of a jury of peers.

In the interest of furthering such discourse among those who visit this blog, I've added a new link to an excellent site, The Expatriate's Kitchen. The author, not only offers ideas on how to secure and prepare great tasting and healthy food, her writing style is entertaining and a comfortable, yet thought provoking read.

Though I may disagree with her on some issues relating to agriculture, the environment and politics, that does not mean we don't have something in common. Each maintains a garden that produces food for our respective families. Our garden in Kansas produces tomatoes, squash, beets, radishes, lettuce, onions, ornamental flowers, peppers, dill, mint and sage.

All too often, the greatest barrier between people is the fear of the unknown. I remember reading Winston Churchill's great speech, where he said, "The only thing we have to fear is, fear itself." In essence, even as bad and terrible as the Nazis were, fear had greater control over the British nation than anything else.

Fear is a great motivator and used effectively by those who desire to bring about a major change that often results in harmful consequences for the majority of people. In a democracy such as ours, we should not allow that to happen.

Rather than give in to our fears about what we have been told or led to believe as the truth, we have an obligation to ourselves and to our future generations to discover the truth, to dispel the myth that invites fear into our lives, even if it means asking uncomfortable questions or listening to differing opinions.

Even if we find ourselves at an impasse where we agree to disagree on certain issues, at least we have reduced the darkness of fear to a more manageable factor. We've gained new insights into what motivates other people. We understand their role as citizens, whether they live in large cities, small towns or in the countryside.

So, let the discourse continue.

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