A while back I decided to install a “Stat Counter” on this blog. The purpose, if you are not familiar with the counter, is to track visitors both by number and by location. It is truly an amazing device. It lets me know where my visitors are coming from and how many there are.
Initially I thought it would be just fun to see how many people were reading my rants, but a sudden realization came over me. Intellectually we all know that the internet is a world wide web, but until you see that reflected on your “Stat Counter” it may not hit home.
In the past few weeks I have had readers from Germany, France, and India. On the one hand it is somewhat flattering to see visitors from all over the world. On the other hand it causes me some concern.
It is possible that someone in a far corner of the world may come to a conclusion about our country by what they read on the internet. I ask myself if I truly want people to form an impression of America by what they read on my blog. I have gone back and re-read some of my rants to see if I am okay with the content from that perspective.
These are my conclusions. First, I am pleased to let any reader know that I have the freedom to express any opinion that I have on this blog. Nobody censors its content. More important than the content is the fact that free people can opine as they choose without regard to the position of any subject who may be the target. That probably is not true in all the countries this blog reaches.
Secondly, I am now acutely aware of the responsibility I have to show the value of free speech to those corners of the world where it doesn’t exist. That may sound a little arrogant to some of you but I think that any act of freedom shown to people who don’t have freedom can have beneficial results. We take our freedoms for granted in many respects. Imagine for a moment if we could not express ourselves without fear of punishment or imprisonment. Imagine if our newspapers were censored by government officials. Consider our lives if we could not gather together and protest our own government when we feel the need to do so.
We are truly fortunate people to live in America. It is my hope that those readers from across the world who might stumble upon this writing may come to understand what living free really means.
If you are reading this now and you don’t have the freedoms that I have mentioned, remember freedom is not free. We have spent our entire history securing and perfecting those freedoms. We have had to defend them many times and may have to again. The true patriots in this country stand ready at any time to answer the call if necessary. I would wish for you the same kind of life that I enjoy. If you live under a repressive government, I hope you find the courage and where-with-all to change your system. Your life and the lives of those who come after you may be at stake.
Finally, here in America we often gripe and complain. It’s what we do. But don’t get us wrong. We love our country and our way of life, and would defend both to the grave.
Keep reading. Learn from us. Share your thoughts with us that we may be better able to understand what your life is like. I look forward to hearing from you.
Ron Scarbro May 9, 2009
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