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In times like these we re-visit the concepts and influences that have made our country and our communities what they are today. I personally believe that we live in the greatest country in the world. And I believe that our forefathers, who created the very documents that are supposed to act as a guiding light on our freedoms and rights, had every intention of keeping our country a place where we are free.
Now, regardless of your political background and viewpoints, it is my estimation that most of us truly enjoy being “free.” When we drive to the grocery store – or, preferably, our local farmers’ markets – it is this freedom of choice that allows us to participate in such an activity. If we decide that we would like to grow our own produce on our own land, it is our freedom of choice and property rights that allow us to do that. Freedom and being a consumer go hand in hand. We make our choices; we tell our markets what to do – our free markets – where we actively participate with minimal intervention from entities that are not consumers (this would mean government).
When we decide if we want to visit a medical doctor at a hospital or a holistic practitioner in their own home, that is another way we get to exercise our freedoms. We get to choose what we put in, on, and around our bodies. We get to choose how we take care of ourselves.
When we decide if we want to purchase fossil fuels to drive our vehicles, or give up our vehicles to ride our bikes, walk, engage with the public transportation system, etc., we are exercising our freedoms.
When we submit articles to publications, we are exercising our voice and our freedom to express how we feel and what we think. And the press, these publications and other content mechanisms have the right to publish this information. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are other ways that we express and get to hear the expressions of consumers in our country.
Sustainability, the ability to take care of oneself, the ability to survive without the intervention and assistance of others are freedom. If I can grow my own food, create my own fuel or transportation, be able to protect myself, and be able to express myself to my community members, then I am free. And no matter who you are and what political viewpoints you have, and no matter what religion you believe in, I think that you would agree that you want to be free, and you want to be able to live a sustainable lifestyle where you can be able to do all of these things as an individual.
I see many things going on in our country. Some of them are scary, and some of them give me a lot of hope for the future. The only thing I can do, as a man here in Southern Colorado, is express how I feel, hope that people will be able to see my words, and that somewhere, someone may say, “I feel that way too, what can I do to be free?”
Joseph Poder, or Joe, is a small-time farmer/rancher in Southern Colorado. He enjoys living “off-the-grid” in the house that he and his wife built by themselves, with their two daughters, 3 dogs, 7+ cats, and numerous other small creatures.