There is a moving song about indecision called loving arms. Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge made it a hit in 1973, and more recently a girl group with their own indecision recorded it in 2015. The 1973 version made the song a memory for many people. The final chourus, after describing the mistake of leaving a loved one, believing the freedom to roam would be better got my attention the first time I heard it.
“Looking back and longing for the freedom of my chains, lying in your loving arms again.”
By 1973 I had both a strong Biblical training and had begun to finish, and pay for, the last of my classes in college, by pursuing a career in law enforcement. One of the things I learned was about liberty. From the Judeo-Christian model, we learned that liberty has constraints. That is the only way it works well. The basic model of both English Common law and The Constitution were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That is not a pro-religious statement as much as it is just a fact. That idea was well known in English Common Law, and probably the reason they were chosen to be included in the Declaration. The fact that follows from it is that America has become the most prosperous and helpful neighbor to her peers than any in history. . . with liberty and justice to all.
Contained or inferred in is Kristofferson’s being “too long in the wind.” That means being beyond control, at liberty but having no plan or goal. Even while the pledge mentions liberty, it is constrained by the responsibility to our Republic, To “keep it” as Franklin said, as our form of government. Let it control the country and the guarantees our Constitution offers. You are pledging yourself to the chains of that liberty. Also, within that liberty, is to respect the liberty of others. It means that agreeing to follow laws in this country is better than being without them. Nowhere in that liberty is the freedom to steal, assault, burglarize, damage them or their property, stop them or their cars on the street – or even shout in their face. That curtails their liberty – and like anger, there is no justification for taking another person’s liberty. The number of times the police hear a guy say, “Well yeah I hit her, but she made me mad!” are countless. The speaker always says it with such gusto – as if it was justification — some sort of get-out-of-jail card. It is not, and if you are using anger or your “right” to protest to hinder, much or harm others you are outside the law. Those are the chains of liberty. If a lover is to be faithful and true they must accept the chains of responsibility. Like in marriage, the lack of freedom to romance others, to accept responsibility for a partner, their health and individual needs as well as shared goals. The protestor, for his protests to remain relevant, must remain within the liberty of our chains.
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