No, Mr. Carney: Freedom Isn’t a ‘Buzzword’

Written by Suzanne Olden on February 6, 2014

As I sit here in my home, my dog lying next to me, wood stove crackling, I think about things. Ice has fallen overnight and my power is out for the second time. I’m hearing the cracks, pops and thumps of branches falling from trees around my neighborhood. Without power there is no TV and my news is limited to my rapidly dying smartphone battery. Makes me ponder the simplicity of life before the advent of 24 hour news coverage and government so big it thinks it’s above the law.

Our nation is 238 years old (or will be in July) and much of that time was spent growing. We grew from a few very small settlements dotting the eastern coast of the US and Canada. Many didn’t survive their first round of seasons here. A Virginia settlement completely disappeared. But many did and started farming and building. Settlements became towns. Then some became cities. People moved north, south and west and used their smarts and compunction to build what used to be the greatest nation in the world.

America started with courage and hard work. Look how far we’ve come. I think the first settlers here would be undoubtedly disgusted with what we have become. I have been a student of history for many years. I love finding out where we came from, things that happened, how people clashed and how they made things work. I am fortunate to live in an area where there are a plethora of historical places to visit and learn from. Gettysburg, Antietam, Ft. McHenry, Harper’s Ferry, just to name a few, always remind me of the sacrifice others made so we could live in freedom. Freedom that complacent, lazy Americans are fast letting slip away.

Yesterday, White House spokesman Jay Carney called freedom a “buzzword.” Many of us already have figured out that the current administration doesn’t give any significance to the values that our country was founded upon. It’s been obvious from their actions, as well as their words. But that statement from Carney, mouthpiece for Obama himself, is incredibly troubling. Freedom is not a buzzword. It is one of the founding principles of our nation. The minute we make it secondary to comfort, laziness and convenience, we are no longer free.

I think back to my own family origins. My father’s family came here two generations ago from Germany. According to my father, with some corrections from some cousins, my great grandparents came here from Heidelberg and Bavaria in the early 1900’s. They came with visions of becoming successful, raising their families in freedom. My grandparents wouldn’t even allow their sons to speak German in the home. “You’re Americans, you speak English” my Dad told me his mother always admonished them.

My mother’s family has been here longer. Different branches came at different times, but the first Addison apparently came here in the 1600’s. He, the story goes, was the youngest of 16 and would have no inheritance in Scotland, so America looked like a place to make his own way. None of them came with a hand out. All of them, both sides of the family, knew that success meant hard work.

We are a nation of immigrants. But now the majority of the immigrants come into our country by breaking, not following, our laws. And yes, Justice Sotomayor, that makes them criminals, no matter how offensive you find that term or idea. They come to make better lives, and in that they are not so different from my ancestors.

Unlike my ancestors, they come and then demand that we change for them. We must learn other languages (how long have we been hearing “press 1 for English”?), we must be sensitive to their cultures, we must make all the changes. No, we don’t. You came here. You can’t now demand that we make you a citizen before those who followed the rules. You can’t now stand with your hand out and demand we take care of your every need. A melting pot means that you assimilate. Be proud of where you came from, yes, but assimilate into OUR culture.

Illegals aren’t the only problem. 20% of the households in America last year were on food stamps. More people are on some form of assistance than are actually working in America. More Americans look to the government to solve their problems than to their own determination. Our economy sucks, I get that. But the people who first came here came with no way to feed themselves. There was no government to feed, house and clothe them. There were in many instances Native Americans who lent a helping hand, but not always. Guess what? Enough of them, those first Americans, survived to build where we now live. And how have we repaid their sacrifice and hard work? By becoming lazy, complacent and socialist.

Today we worry about “offending” others more than we worry about the encroachments into the God given rights protected by the Constitution. Today we worry more about getting the latest and greatest technology, than we do that our President is usurping power with a “pen and a phone.” Today we worry more about letting government help our neighbor, instead of doing what our grandparents and great-grandparents did – rely on each other.

America was a great nation. America can be one again if we just wake up and remember who we were and strive to move back to that. It takes more than your vote, America. It takes being aware, involved and ticked off. If you aren’t willing to fight for who we were, you deserve what we are now. It’s time to move backwards…“Forward” has gotten us nowhere but failure.

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Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.