“Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” – Moshe Dayan

The Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

Do You Feel Free?

I Love Love Love July 4 because “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” – Moshe Dayan

I visited the USSR in 1977 after studying Marxism in high school, I thought Communism sounded like a good  deal. It did, on paper anyway. (hey I was open-minded :) )

Then I went there for a few weeks on a class trip. We flew to Helsinki and took the overnight train to Leningrad  (You could not fly into the country from here then. Now it’s called St. Petersburg, they dumped Lenin and  Communism in 1991).

We were woken up in the middle of the night by armed Russian soldiers (the rifles were slung on their backs)  yelling and opening the doors of all our compartments, pulling down the blinds on the windows in the hallway of  train, letting them roll back up at full speed, making as much noise as possible (and supposedly looking for contraband in the blinds) and scaring us all as much as they could.

We had just crossed the border into the Soviet Union. Friendly, huh?

Here are a few things we experienced, that altered my view about their choice of government.

We visited schools and talked to students. All kids were evaluated by age 3, and a decision was made by the state what school they would attend and their direction in life.

We went to English speaking clubs where I spoke to adults living in Estonia and Latvia. One man was a physician, and made the same money as an office worker. His salary was determined by the state. So were his long hours.

Another man had an injury that wasn’t healing, because he couldn’t see a Dr. promptly enough to avoid an infection. He was outspoken that their oppressive government was the cause of his unhealed wound. He said “If I was in a free country, I could have gotten the medical help when I needed it”.

The churches were all closed, and worshiping God and practicing a religion was against the law.

The food was horrible, even though the hotels tried to give us the best they had. We couldn’t drink the water out of the tap, and it smelled awful.

What few stores there were had nothing you’d want to buy (except the furry hats with ear flaps, and it’s so fr*&%ing cold you want one of those) because everything looked used or old.

Only foreigners were allowed in the Beryozka shops, where they accepted hard currency instead of rubles (of course) and there were beautiful painted jewelry boxes, and other pretty things to buy.

There were long lines for food. And there was very little choice of your occupation.

I could give you so many more examples of what life is like in a country without the freedom’s we have in the USA.

When I got home, I kissed the ground. Then I asked my parents if we could go to Victoria’s Station (a really good steak place at the time).

After that I didn’t think Communism was such a great idea. And I figured out that Socialism isn’t such a great idea either.

Both are man-made environments that stifle human potential and waste our God-given talents and ideas.

Imagine if the 56 Congressmen that signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 didn’t act on their ideas and convictions?

What if they were too afraid to stand up for themselves, and settled for the status quo….? (and then complained about the situation, like many people do).

Where would we be now?

Today I’m thanking each one of them personally, as well as everyone else throughout our history that believed so strongly in freedom, they act to preserve it, protect it, and live it as an example of how life is meant to be.

I have the freedom to be an entrepreneur, and create something from nothing. And also help other entrepreneur’s create their something from nothing.

We all have the freedom to have a huge impact on others, just like the 56 men that wrote that Declaration and signed it. Changing life as we know it. Thank God and Goodness they did.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

Not everyone exercises these rights, they take them for granted, like I did before I went to the Soviet Union.

Or they don’t see they actually do have the freedoms they really do have. Every one of us has the right and the ability to pursue a path that gives our gifts to the world. Are you pursuing that path?

It’s a choice, and we’ve got it, thanks to that Declaration they all signed on July 4, 1776.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you cherish it like I do, and pursue life, liberty, and happiness  :-)

I hope you feel free. And if you don’t, you do something about it.

The transcript and the 56 Congressmen that signed the Declaration is here:
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts on freedom, and entrepreneurship, and giving your gifts to the world. Comment below and share.