Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Balance of Freedom

Noise! Noise! Noise! Racing up and down the lake at top volume, Baja boats are faster, louder, flashier than any other boat on the lake. They conjure up the image of the young, sexy man with women hanging on each arm.

In reality, it's usually 40 something, beer guzzling dads who are the ones able to afford the 100k plus price tag (used). These puppies cost nearly $900 to fill with gas, and m.p.g. is never mentioned in the specifications.

The noise of their engines drowns out all conversation as they fly by. You can hear them at 10 miles away. The roar of their thunder is a rush for their owners and a curse for everyone else.

How do we resolve the conflict between the freedom of one person to blow $900 on gas roaring up and down the lake all day at with the desire of another to have quiet reflection? It sometimes seems like the people doing all the compromise are the ones who give up their quiet.

How do we walk the line between all and none? The NRA feels that assault rifles should be allowed under the Constitution. Those of us who believe that guns are for hunters and the police end up compromising far beyond our comfort level when handguns are freely available and assault rifles are used to mow down movie theater patrons.

Yes, I agree freedom is a fundamental right that we should protect. But freedom is tricky because many freedoms conflict. I want quiet, you want loud and noisy. One of us is going to lose. Instead of fighting about who is right, why can't we talk instead about how we can find the balance between all or nothing.

I'm not saying this is easy. In my own family we struggle with the balance. My brother feels fine with having his kids play video on vacation, where I define vacation as a time away from screens. Working out this conflict is fraught with landmines. Nearly as dangerous as bringing up politics or religion, but far easier than the issue of the Baja boat to resolve.

I once heard that a compromise isn't fair unless both sides are hurting. Tell me, where is the hurt that the Baja boat owners are feeling? Who is feeling the pain of assault rifles being legal? How do we bring freedom back into balance for everyone? I wish I had the magic answer.