What Comes First

Reflections on Freedom and Responsibility

by Sarah Lane at ProgressiveKid

During the Republican National Convention we’ve been hearing a lot about two key themes: personal freedom and personal responsibility. I am a big fan of both. I value and cherish my freedom and feel great empathy for people who live in places where they are severely restricted in their ability to speak their minds, to move about freely, or even to wear what they want to wear. As a corollary I also feel great responsibility: to value and protect those freedoms, to care for the place where I live and the people who live here, to pull my weight and make a worthwhile contribution to my community.

I wondered what examples candidate McCain and his running mate Palin would give in their exploration of these two themes. I wondered if there would be discussion of our important Bill of Rights and how we must defend it. I wondered if there would be talk about our responsibility to protect the land where we live, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and to care for one another.

This is what I heard: Continue reading

Guns ‘n’ Bread ‘n’ Roses

GunBy Sarah at ProgressiveKid

This is a call to arms. The kind that are attached to hands and often linked via shoulder and neck to heads with brains, eyes, ears, and mouths.

After Seung-Hui Cho killed 33 people last Monday and President Bush responded in part to the massacre by reaffirming his commitment to guns, I was reminded of my friend Victor. I knew Victor about 20 years ago when I worked for a teacher-training program in Chicago. We met at an Act-Up meeting. Victor, an intelligent, soft-spoken, powerful, opinionated, gay carpenter, was the guy we called in to help train our future teachers on how to work best with gay students.

One day, during one of his presentations to our students, Victor mentioned—I can’t remember the context—that he was a firm supporter of the unfettered right to bear arms. Continue reading