Editor, Commonwealth:


These four letters might be the most misunderstood concept of all time. When “free” is used as an adjective, it has come to represent void of cost. When it is used as a verb, the word has gravitated to being released from responsibility.

However, in the true sense of reality, “free” is never without cost. Here are some examples where we might have misinterpreted the cost of those things we are considering to be free:

• In a free society, all I have to do is vote and let those who are supposed to represent me correct all my problems.

• In free public schools, learning should occur with no associated costs.

• As a free citizen, I do not have the duty to correct things on behalf of others.

In each one of these scenarios, if one has misconceived the notion of what is “free,” one will surely pay dearly.

As we prepare for another round of “free” elections, can we discuss some things that will cost us dearly should we fail to recognize their importance? What is preventing you from educating others about the role of being an informed voter? Informed voters are not easily influenced by outside factors and can distinguish between leadership and individuals playing almighty leaders.

Leadership is an action or behavior. Anyone in the community can take on a leadership role. All one has to do is find something that needs doing and just do it. On the other hand, those who are playing follow the leader could be dignified exploiters, who take advantage of others for their own personal gain.

One of the most important roles we all have as citizens is to be a watchdog over those we have given political authority. Our struggle is not with one corrupt politician; it is with corrupt practices, which is far greater than one person. When we take on the role of watchdog, we ensure that authority is not abused and the most vulnerable among us are protected.

I am merely offering “free” expressions; the cost comes when we fail to do anything that would make a difference. Voting is a civic responsibility. Standing up for what is right is a role performed by men and women.

Charles Brady

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