Let Freedom Wring
(A Readers' Theatre That Rhymes)
Reader 1 represents “I Have a Dream” Freedom
– the freedom to reach the heights.
Reader 2 represents “Don’t Tread on Me” Freedom
– the freedom from restrictions.
Reader 3 represents “People Who Need People” Freedom
– freedom for everybody, not just me.
Reader 4 is a wise and insightful narrator.
In 1787, in Phila-Delph-Eye-A
The U.S. Constitution saw the light of day.
To me it means I have the right to assemble
With whomever I like, in a bar or in a temple.
Religion or heresy or any random thoughts
Are guaranteed to me – they're what I’ve got.
You can’t take my guns away;
You can’t tell me what to say;
You can’t censor the Internet;
But don’t let other people drink or bet.
And minority rights
Must not be trampled in a hurry:
Mobs can form like a virtual flurry.
I won't let the media put me on their shelf;
I've got the right to think for myself.
A wise man whose name was Hugh B. Brown,
Prayerfully, carefully wrote these words down:
"From freedom of the mind all other freedoms spring...
Exchange of ideas is a sacred thing.”
He was Canadian, it wasn’t his fault,
So you can take his words with a grain of salt.
I have the right to fully express
Whatever I like with Freedom of the Press.
You can’t tell me what to teach:
I’ve got that good old Freedom of Speech.
I am free to buy a truck as big as a fort.
And I'm free to buy gas at a dollar a quart.
You can’t force a motor-sickle helmet on my head,
Even if it means that I wind up dead.
As you think about “Me,” “Me,” “Me,”
Don’t forget the first word of the Constitution: “We.”
We the People of the United States
Have the right to make mistakes,
But every time we make a loony one,
We just have to try to form a more perfect Union.
A couple centuries back, it was just a bad joke,
We took away the rights of Indian folk.
Too long the country put up with chains and slavery,
Emancipation came at the cost of misery and bravery.
And then civil rights for the black and the poor
Took at least a hundred years more.
Progress has been made today:
People act in more of a tolerant way.
Patriotism is more than waving a banner;
It’s making life better in every manner.
It’s helping our country reach the station
Of being a truly righteous nation.
America is great because she is good
Dedicated to brother- and sisterhood.
What a magnificent experiment
For us to fulfill what the Founding Fathers meant
When they said: “Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land”
With prosperity and joy on every hand.
If America stops being good, she’ll stop being great,
Like the Roman Empire left to her fate.
Buckle up, dear citizens, hold on to your hat,
We don't want to let it come to that!
Let's keep the Statue of Liberty’s torch
Burning like a light on our own front porch!
They say that freedom is not free,
But what exactly does that mean for me?
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Not only militarily but in another sense:
We need to watch our nation from within,
Lest she fall into corruption and sin.
We must watch our rights and freedoms better,
Lest they end up in a constitution shredder.
To save ourselves from terror and frights,
Let’s think what we can do with the Bill of Rights...
We can help insure the domestic tranquility
By lifting up those with lesser ability.
No, no, we provide for the common defense
By putting barbed wire on top of the fence.
No, no, we promote the general welfare,
By finding a way we can all have health care.
No, no, you can take that idea and park it,
The answer to everything is in the free market.
No, no, we can all support the troops
By gathering together in like-minded groups.
No, no, we can make our freedoms flow
By permanently shuttering Guantanamo.
We really don’t have to all agree!
That’s what it means to truly be free.
If no-one ever thought to disagree,
We’d be ripe for every form of tyranny.
Did you know the IRS is not on the level?
I won’t pay taxes – they’re of the Devil.
If you don’t obey the laws of the land,
You’ll lose your freedom, and you’ll be banned
From polite society, and without fail
You will end up sitting in court or jail.
Liberty and freedom are often misused,
Or at least as words they can be abused.
What does it mean to really be free?
And what are the bounds of responsibility?
It may be different for you than for me.
At times We the People make the strangest rules:
Democracy is one of the least efficient tools.
Dictators may be poorly miscast,
But at least they get things done real fast.
We tax our philosophers,
But not our churches or nuns.
We put controls on alcohol,
But not on rifles or guns.
We regulate pilots
But not the airlines.
We regulate miners,
But not the coal mines.
Sometimes it’s “We the Corporations”
That end up making all the "regulations."
Within our land of democracy
There are certain things I never want to see:
The making of sausages, the destruction of nature...
And the lobbyists running the legislature.
Most of our ancestors came over on a boat,
With less to their name than the price of a goat,
But they learned to make democracy float
By the elegant power of the simple vote.
The voting booth determines people’s fate:
I have more power than Henry the Eighth.
I could vote independently
Or I could vote resentfully.
I could vote Libertarian
Or I could vote vegetarian.
Freedom means that I have the right
To vote for any Republican I like.
Or when you find a wise Democrat;
You could even vote like that.
But your freedom is never quite that small:
You have the right to vote for nobody at all.
If we count non-voters, when push comes to shove,
In most elections the winner is: “None of the above.”
We elect officials, the women and the guys
Whom we then feel free to criticize.
Let’s not let their power get too concentrated;
They’ll forget that “We the People” designated
Them, and not the other way around.
The voice of the people has to be sound.
And it is just absurd if our word
Is not heard.
Write to your Senator and write to Congress;
Don't let them intimidate or fear-monger us.
And if they won’t fix things, there is a escape hatch:
Let's go out and elect us another batch.
Forever guard our liberty from outside and within;
Since power makes it easy for errors to creep in.
Don’t let the Constitution atrophy
In the name of protecting liberty.
When alleged threat levels rise to red,
Pay attention to your spirit, your heart and head.
We the People have the power,
We never need to quake or cower.
Don’t allow illegal exceptions or clauses
Hypocritically installed in the name of freedom’s causes.
Don’t let spies of the NSA
Peer into your mail today.
Don’t allow your freedom, no matter what they say,
Bit by bit to be taken away.
The War for Independence is over and done,
Ever since Yorktown that battle has been won.
But the American Revolution is still going on,
In the minds and the hearts of citizens strong:
The experiments in Freedom
As We the People lead them,
Continue now despite arguments or fears
As they have for over 200 years.
The American Revolution is still going on
In the minds and the hearts of citizens strong.
- Richard Hacken, 4 July 2008