It has been my tradition that, in addition to flying the American flag on the flag pole in front of the house, I also hang flags from each of the telephone poles that parallel the driveway. I put them up on Memorial Day weekend and take them down on Labor day weekend. With this being Memorial Day weekend, putting up the flags was one of the tasks on my long weekend “to do” list.

As I attached the cleats to each of the poles and respectfully hung our nation’s beautiful banner of freedom, I contemplated many things. But the one that stood out and prompted this essay was “freedom”. But it wasn’t the normal type of freedom that we normally attribute to America. It’s not the “do what I want” freedom or the freedom associated with choice and libery. I believe it is a different kind of freedom — a forgotten freedom that we often overlook. It is the freedom to fail.

The freedom to suck.
The freedom of bad choices.
The freedom to fall flat on your face.

All of these freedoms and others associated with the flip side of the freedom coin are just as important as the ones we enjoy and hold dear. However, like the esteemed freedoms like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, these other freedoms are being infringed upon by our government and society. We eschew accountability and responsibility like they were embarrassing clothing or music fads, not the time honored virtues taught by our parents, our churches, our Scouts or our schools. We have replaced them with excuses, finger pointing, blaming and scapegoating. And consequently we have tried to manipulate the results when we don’t like them. Whether it is bailing out a car company, a bank, Wall Street or an entire state, we placate those who have the most power or money or those who make the most noise or those who are looking after themselves. Thoughts have shifted from “what is the right thing to do” to “what is the most I can get for myself”. We have completely ignored the laws of the economy and the balance of society. And rarely do those actions “fix” the problem. They usually just “kick the can down the road” or at least beyond the next election cycle. I guess what we have now is the freedom to make things worse.

Long live the freedom to fail!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net