The first eight years of the first decade of the twenty-first century is about to come to an end. What a tumultuous year this has been. Never in my eight decades of living on this earth can I recall so much happening in any one twelve-month period. So much has changed and yet so much remains the same.

For me personally, it was a year of change. I began writing on my own blog site this year. When I started, I did not know what a “blog” was. But when my son suggested he would create this website for me to write about anything I wanted to, I jumped at the chance to express my ideas on a variety of subjects. And I must say, it has been a great cathartic experience. I’ve written about my life’s journey, politics, Universal Principles, grandparenting, told stories about North Georgia where I live, and a variety of subjects related to current events, as I write to express not to impress.
As the year ends, there’s much to be grateful for, and much to be concerned about. So many have lost their homes, millions are out of jobs, and despite the rising cost of food, we still have plenty to eat. There seems to be no scarcity of food in the grocery stores. And despite the grumbling about the economy, the malls seem to be crowded with shoppers for the holiday season.
President Bush has kept this country safe from terrorist attacks, and as he prepares to leave office, he and Vice President Cheney seem to be quite concerned about their legacy, regularly reminding us he is for the free market capitalistic system, while approving billions for company bailouts.
While President-Elect Obama is busy appointing for his incoming administration, the news reports the millions it will cost for the inauguration, while millions prepare for a trip to Washington to witness the inauguration of the first African American President. From all accounts, it’s going to be a gala affair. The inauguration of a new president is always a big newsworthy event.
In this great country we live in, the people celebrate events, in spite of the mourning over all of the adversities we have faced in this past year, and the problems we face in the coming year.
There is something so very special about the spirit of the American people, to rise to the occasion, and bounce back from difficult times. There is a hope and determination in the spirit of the people that says we are going to make it, we are going to overcome and prosper. We always have.
Nonetheless, there seems to be an air of despair relative to the current events that I have never witnessed before. What is it, I ask, that is different in these difficult times from previous difficult times? We weathered the Great Depression in the thirties, World War II, Vietnam and  the Korean War, and 9/11.
What we face today is a much greater loss of individual freedom and ownership of property rights than ever before. The system of legal plunder the political government operates on is far greater today than ever before. We used to talk about dollars and cents, now the language is billions and trillions of debt. Amounts of indebtedness, we as individuals cannot wrap our minds around. We simply cannot fathom it. Who’s going to pay for such staggering amounts?
In the midst of daily news about millions and trillions of spending  relative to the government, we hear about one individual, Mr. Madoff, who has ripped individuals off for fifty billion! Hundreds of individuals and charitable organizations are left high and dry, with nothing, all because of one individual thief.
We had not recovered from the shock of the three automaker CEOs flying into Washington in their private jets, men who have received millions in salaries wanting a taxpayer handout, when on December 11 we heard the news about this one-man wrecking crew thief, Mr. Madoff, who had embezzled fifty billion dollars from individuals.
My question is, where did all this money go? Where did the billions political government has squandered, plus the theft by one individual go? Who now has all this money?
The average Americans going to work every day, paying out taxes and fees on everything they do and everything they buy to survive, keeps shoveling into the till and it’s being squandered by the billions and trillions. That’s what’s different about the problems we face today.

Never before in the history of this nation have we faced such a dilemma.  It’s so staggering we simply cannot wrap our minds around the magnitude of the problems we face. We cannot apply common sense thinking to the size of the problem we face as we come to the end of 2008 and begin 2009.
It was several years back when Lyndon Johnson announced he was taking from the “haves” and giving to the “have nots.” And several years before that when Karl Marx announced “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”
I think it was Yogi Berra who said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Seems to me we are at that fork in the road. The question is, are there enough with abilities to take care of all those with needs, when the “needs” now run into billions and trillions? Are there enough “haves” to satisfy the appetites of the “have nots?” That is the question we face in 2009.
Freedom is simply self-responsibility and self-control. How can one exercise self-responsibility when his property (money) is controlled by someone other than himself?
I don’t know about you, but I for one, find myself with a lot more questions than answers as this year winds down to face next year.
Let Freedom Ring!

From “The Freedom Lady.”


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