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Celebrate your independence this July 4th

Last year one of the major controversies in New York City and around the nation stemmed from the construction of a mosque near the site of the World Trader Towers. While the owners of the building were free to do as they wished with their building the public and political outcry was more than enough to finally sway their plans. What's considered free to one person can easily be considered offensive or even criminal to another person, depending on your perspective gained from life experiences. Prior to 9/11 there would have been little opposition to the plan, but afterward attitudes changed.

Throughout history we continue to celebrate our freedom, but as a people we have always required terms to access its privileges. In the 1920's the government outlawed the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor. It led to the first and only time an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was repealed, which happened 13 years later. While President Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863 which gave them the right to vote few made it to the polls as whites found ways to limit their access to vote. In 1866 Congress passed a civil rights bill granting citizenship to anyone born in the US...... except Native Americans. It took until 1920 for women to earn the right to vote and it was 1924 before Native Americans were declared citizens and 1944 before they could vote in an open election. Today what would seem common sense rights took years to accomplish and attitudes to change. Is it fear of the unknown, is it bias or is it simply that the next generation sees things differently than those who may have lived through an experience?

If history has proven anything it has been that new freedoms don't get accepted by society with the same open arms that we profess to celebrate on the 4th. Something so offensive to many of us as burning the American flag, is a freedom we must all be willing to accept and defend. Let's face it we all want control over our lives, actions and property. While your elected officials legislate what freedoms we can exercise and what we are not free to do, it's our culture, over time, that resolves these inequities within our borders and seeks to provide a level playing field, but it does take time for these changes to take root. Look back at how blacks were once treated or Japanese Americans during World War II. By today's standards many may be appalled by those actions, but had you lived through that period first hand, you might have a different perspective.

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