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My Freedom, My Future, My America

August 15, 2009|By JESSE BUCHMAN

Editor's note: On July 7 at the Hagerstown Tea Party, the finalists in the My Freedom, My Future, My America speech contest presented their speeches. Over five Sundays in August and September, The Herald-Mail will publish the speeches given by the five finalists.

Today's speech was presented by Jesse Buchman, an 18-year-old graduate of Williamsport High School who plans to attend Dickinson College in the fall. He lives in Williamsport and attends Tri-State Fellowship, where his father is the pastor.

My freedom



July 4, 1776, 56 men committed high treason against the English Crown with its taxation and oppression. Thirteen years later, many of these same men established the United States Constitution and a government that knew its rightful place. They established a land of freedom and equality unmatched to date in the world, and they created the legacy of the 13 little colonies that stood up to mighty England. But most importantly, they had a vision for the future based on an honest evaluation of the past. They had an exceptional knowledge of the corrupting power of human nature and sought to restrain it. They stressed the importance of inalienable rights that no man should have compromised. We all know how they separated powers using checks and balances, but many of us struggle to grasp why they did such a thing. Patriotism, liberty and freedom were important to them and were not words aimlessly thrown around, but rather concepts they believed in, pursued and protected!

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My future



Here in the 21st century in America, we have had roughly 21 generations since Jamestown and Plymouth. Our Founding Fathers have created a living legacy of freedom. Will we retain it as a legacy for future generations or view it as a distant story of the past? What went wrong? Why are we at a crossroads where we are struggling to pass the torch on? The framers had a plan and a vision, but America has steadily strayed from its values and we fear we may not return. This is similar to how God had a vision, but mankind sinned and went the opposite way. The Bible is God's objective truth to direct us back to the basics, and in similar fashion, the Constitution is the USA's timeless truth to regain our identity in democracy.

To be honest, I am worried about my future and the future of my country. The direction the United States is heading is dramatically different from where we started. It is like building a house, and as it ages, it obviously begins to wear and different replacements are needed, but it still is your house with all its memories. However, if you take that same house and remove an integral part (such as a supporting wall or the foundation), it comes crashing down, and now, the house is nothing more than a pile of nails and boards.

Throughout the United States' history, my freedom has been my future, but that is under attack, and I fear my freedom will soon be my memory -- in the same way that dilapidated house is now a memory that can never be perfectly replicated. I fear as I educate myself in order to succeed in the world that I will be regarded as inconsiderate, a thief, a swindler and therefore be punished accordingly through taxation.

The original patriots cried out "no taxation without representation!" Well, we have an advantage because we have representation, and it is time we participated in our government, our country and our freedom. We have the freedom of speech, assembly and religion; we are capable of writing our congressmen; and we are expressing such freedoms today. The people who run our country are not supposed to be distant in Annapolis or D.C. Rather, they represent us -- their constituents -- and it is our responsibility as individuals to hold them accountable. So I urge you to get involved, to raise your voice and to be the mortar that rebuilds and binds our country together. Conservatism, personal responsibility and disdain of excess taxation are not extinct ideas, but they are truly alive and well -- they just need to be organized into an exceptional resistance to our desensitized culture.

My America



Ronald Reagan once described the United States as a shining city on a hilltop. What America do we, the people, desire? When a human is desperate for something, they will do anything to get it. Like in the Old Testament when Esau's hunger drove him to sell his birthright, or in the Greek legend when Pheidippides euphorically ran 26 miles to describe his joy of the victory in Marathon -- only to fall dead moments later, or even in our own history when oppression by England led the patriots to revolt and commit high treason against the crown.

So where is our drive? Will we sit idly by as our hunger for freedom steadily grows to a point that our bodies are so emaciated from the repression of big government? No, we should indulge in productive labor, honorably pursue the feast that is capitalism and remember what has sustained us for so long.

The way we respond does not just affect us now (in fact, it might do nothing), but it impacts those who will follow us -- our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Ronald Reagan described this perfectly when he said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

In this new era of the 21st century, everyone from every stratum must assess the America they want to see. They must fulfill their responsibilities as an American citizen, remember those who have sacrificed for the cause and continue the legacy that defines the United States of America.

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