Lance Scranton: Freedom demands responsibility
July 3, 2018
The Fourth of July takes on a special meaning with every celebration I take part in each year. We take a day to remind ourselves that the founding of our country was borne out of the blood, sweat and tears of people to whom we owe an unpayable debt, but remembers all the people who have fought the intellectual battle to protect our freedom and guarantee that our constitution remains the preeminent documentation of our rights and responsibilities.
In this political cycle of never-Trumpers, hashtag harassers and social media rebels, it is increasingly difficult to gauge the genuineness of these word-hatchet hordes.
Perhaps with maturity comes some measure of wisdom, but trying to engage people in polite political discourse is increasingly more difficult to do, because people simply don't have to anymore. The public square has emptied out, and many people simply share their thoughts through a medium that doesn't require any type of face to-face responsibility.
Some people I talk to think our culture has coarsened and that nobody is off-limits.
But our culture has always been coarse, and people have always spoken out of the bounds of polite conversation. It's just easier to see and hear about it today, because it isn't in some regional newspaper or small circulation magazine. Today, everyone has access to everything anyone says, and as it becomes increasingly more difficult to get attention, the smack-talk ticks up a notch.
Freedom of thought and expression of ideas should always be accompanied by the responsibility to be accountable for what you say, how you think and your delivery mode. When you get frustrated by the thoughts, attitudes and words of those around you, maybe we should all think about how we respond and take care to make certain that we take into account the sacrifice people have made, so we can write and post our thoughts.
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The more Independence Day celebrations I take part in, the more I realize how much we depend on each other to keep the social fabric of our country strong. Enjoy the celebration, and let's all remember that our collective freedom is directly related to our individual responsibility.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.