As a journalist, I do not express my political opinions. However, as a citizen, I sometimes feel compelled to speak up.

What happened in Washington, D. C. on January 6, 2021, is not explicitly reserved for the nation’s capital. If such an assault could succeed in the most protected building in the country, it would be a stroll through the park in a small community like Hemet or San Jacinto. You might say, “Not in my community. Not in my America.” Wait a minute. Just who are we Americans today. Who have we become to be so sure of ourselves?

I was taught in school about cause and effect. So, things don’t just happen. They are caused.

As Americans, and I count myself among them, we have become so self-satisfied in who and what we are that we often forget that our freedoms are not free. They are bought and paid for by the suffering and deaths on the battlefields. Thousands upon thousands of America’s youth have fought and died to preserve what we call freedom.

Our sense of neighborhood has been lost to selfishness. Wants have replaced needs in our lives. For instance, I don’t need the most expensive vehicle, but our neighbor just bought one so we must have it. We want it. Our homes are filled with things we want, but don’t need. We are more likely to ask for something than to volunteer to help. Greed has replaced giving. The “I got mine, get your own” attitude has become a pervasive pervade in our society. The more we get, the more we want. Billionaires have become more important than family or friends. We can say that isn’t true, but when a person loaded with money donates some of it we applaud. Yet, when someone without enough income to sustain life gives help, they are ignored. A mantra of “I want,” has replaced “How can I help.” How has this happened?

On radio, television and in the printed media, we are bombarded with ads declaring that we must have this or that if we are to keep up with the Jones’s. More, More, More for me, me, me.

Beware the casual way we treat our freedoms. You never miss them until they are gone and once lost they are often retrieved. We need to learn how to value the freedoms we are blessed with and preserve them with our very beings. As someone once declared, “You don’t miss what you have until you have lost it.” We need to start believing in country, not just self.’ Just sayin’.

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