A flock of squirrels

Squirrels © Michelle Ribeiro | Dreamstime.com

Our attention has been redirected so many times in the last few years that a whiplash pandemic is the next national crisis.

As soon as we start sniffing the ground for a whiff of what really ails us, the Powers That Be shout “Squirrel!” and send us scampering in another direction — until we hold up and start to think there were no rodents there, after all. And then they shout “Squirrel!” again and point thataway.

We are herded this way and that and kept off-balance so much that we miss the overarching themes.

These people hate our freedom. These people don’t trust individual men and women. These people have a psychological need to keep us in line.

Who are these people? What are there motivations? It can’t be simply that they are megalomaniacal tyrants, although they act that way. They must have a reason — and of course they will say they have our best interests at heart, and they may actually believe that.

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” but they sure keep trying. If Baby squirms out of one corner, they push her toward another. The world is full of corners until you break out of the box.

Here, out in the sun where light outshines all darkness, Big Brother and Big Sister are revealed as little people the same as you and me — except you and I don’t need to force each other to act a certain way, to hand over half our earnings, to turn over private information, or otherwise stick our noses where they don’t belong.

There are regular folks who want to live and let live, and there are agents of the state, a faceless quasi-organism that purports to know best how we are to live, and your own choices be damned. This is the real divide, not political parties, genders, races, creeds or however else they try to split us.

Some of us see a better way. Some of us stirred when we heard the words, “All are created equal, endowed with certain unalienable rights, and among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Like the folks who signed that document, we declare independence from tyranny. We declare freedom.

The idea was revolutionary in 1776, and it remains revolutionary today. The Powers That Be responded to that declaration with a violence that continues to this day. To a certain extent the struggle feels eternal — just when you think we’ve made our point, The Powers That Be launch another assault on the simple desire to live and let live. It’s in their nature, of course — they can’t control the urge to Be That Power. The movement that generated that venerable document hoped to wrangle The Powers That Be into leaving us alone, but they just keep trying.

If we are born free, then we only become not-free when we surrender the freedom and responsibility for our own lives. And when we do, eventually we realize that no one cares about our selves, our freedoms and our well-being as much as we do, so we may as well take back our freedom and live the life we desire — as long, of course, as we respect our neighbors’ right to do the same, and there, for many of us especially The Powers That Be, is the rub.

It’s all about boundaries, it seems.

But they don’t want us thinking in terms of freedom and individuals, so — as H.L. Mencken so aptly put it — they assail us with an endless barrage of alarming crises — hobgoblins — squirrels, if you will — to keep us running in circles while they loot.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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