To my friends–

One of my friends sent me this quote from Christopher Renstrom that I thought might be of interest to you.

“Bravery is not for the squeamish. It doesn’t visit the perches of the privileged, the ruts of the tried-and-true, the furrows of the formulaic, or the fat cats who have grown obese with complacency.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Bravery is for those who are willing to bet it all on a future that hasn’t been written yet. . . if there was ever a time to jump off the treadmill, to take a chance on something uncharted, or to paint on the largest possible canvas–then it would be now.”

Tonight, I would like to challenge you to take a chance on liberty, not freedom, LIBERTY!! There is a subtle but yet profound difference between the two. One of freedom’s definitions is being exempt from an obligation or a discomfort. Liberty offers no such guarantee. It is all about obligation. It is all about the assumption of responsibility to make this country better than it is. I believe that this involves more than just voting. It means becoming actively involved to protect what others have paid so dearly to win.

I could become a Japanese citizen, but I would never be accepted as Japanese. I could become a citizen of France, but I would never be accepted as French. You get the point. People continue to come here from all parts of the globe. They become Americans the moment they raise their rights hands to the square and swear allegiance to their new country. They come for an idea. They come to build a better life. They come to escape tyranny. They come for the freedom of conscience promised by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Many begin their journey at the very bottom rung, but still they come.

Liberty is a terrible responsibility. It would be so easy to surrender it to political elements who promise temporal security if only . . . Yes, if only. Benjamin Franklin once observed that people who exchanged liberty for security would have neither. I believe in the power of non-violence. So did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So did Gandhi. I believe in the power of reason, goodwill and compassion. President Lincoln told us in the middle of the Civil War that we had to think and act anew to save our country. I believe that this sentiment is as true today as it was then. It will require a rededication to the promise of America.

The road has been long and tortuous. As long as we are working with the crooked timber of human imperfection, this will probably always be the case–but we MUST keep trying. Say yes to the language of hope and no to the language of hate. We can get bitter or get busy. Our choice.

Ciao,

Mark Holland