The last line of our Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag speaks of "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
We, or at least my generation, learned the pledge early in our lives and repeated it in our schools, scout meetings and just about anywhere else there was anything resembling an official gathering.
We learned it by rote and in my early years I didn't even know what a lot of the words meant, but I knew that I was promising to be faithful to my country, to cherish and protect it - but, the freedom and justice part I basically took for granted, never really stopping to consider what freedom and justice meant to me until I was many years older and, hopefully, at least somewhat wiser.
When I think of liberty, I think of having the right to go anywhere I choose, to stay there as long as I want to, to visit or to live anywhere in these United States of America, to take a job or start a business or just pass through in search of greener pastures.
Liberty to me means having the right to say anything I want to say without fear, to criticize a government - or a ball team or a politician or the architecture of a building - unafraid.
Liberty means raising my family without worrying about a band of thugs coming to my house and doing them harm and that, if by some chance it should happen, I have the right to protect my loved ones by any means it takes to accomplish the task.
Liberty means, when differences arise, you have the right to stand in front of an impartial judge and a jury of your peers and state your case free from prejudice or intimidation, to practice the religious faith of your choice and raise your children, accordingly, without government interference or indoctrination.
Justice, to me, means that every human being has the right to start out with a level playing field, the same opportunities for basic education, freedom from discrimination because of race or creed, the same fair shot to all people to grow and advance according to your ability and work ethic.
Justice means every man shoulders his own responsibilities, pays for the wellbeing of his own children from birth to the age of majority and any man who doesn't, except for reasons of physical or mental impairment, should be forced to or incarcerated.
Justice means charity, but the honest kind where those who have gathered much share with those who have gathered little, but by the goodness of their hearts and their own free will, not because it is imposed by law.
It is not justice to be under the heel of an oppressive government that holds itself above the mandates of the Constitution and the will of the people, one which chooses the laws they will actively enforce, which values their agenda over the wellbeing of the nation and is determined to fundamentally change a free and prosperous nation into a pathetic also-ran, neither respected nor feared, growing weaker and more vulnerable while its enemies grow stronger and more belligerent by the day.
Justice cannot exist without liberty and, conversely, liberty cannot exist without justice.
At present, both are going down the drain at an alarming rate.
Use it or lose it, America.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem
God Bless America