Authentic Women Magazine July August 2010 — Authentic Women Magazine

All translations are provided for your convenience by the Google Translate Tool. The publishers, authors, and digital providers of this publication are not responsible for any errors that may occur during the translation process. If you intend on relying upon the translation for any purpose other than your own casual enjoyment, you should have this publication professionally translated at your own expense.

Fragility Of Freedom
Anne M. Schwab, Mba, Cfp

Anne M. Schwab is the Metamorf Maven, an inspirational speaker, author, publisher of Authentic Woman Magazine™, and Certified Financial Planner®. She earned an MBA at DePaul University and has more than 30 years experience in the financial services industry. Her messages are intended to inspire, empower and enrich her readers and the people they cherish.

The Fragility of Freedom

We are living in a pivotal time in history.

Over the last couple decades, the focus in our country has been divisive social issues. It is time to put aside our differences on those issues because there are much more serious threats with which we need to deal. They are threats – both external and internal – that threaten our freedom.

How we deal with these threats in the next few months will shape our lives for decades to come. Yet most of our citizens are so uninformed that they don’t even realize what those threats are. Unfortunately by the time we realize what is happening, it takes significant action to undo the harm, if it can be undone.

I’ll illustrate using a personal example. In the mid-1980’s I moved into a newly built townhouse complex of over 260 homes. When the association was turned over to the homeowners to run, we had several knowledgeable and experienced individuals who were elected to the Board. Things went smoothly for a few years and homeowners, including myself, became complacent.

We woke up one day to the realization that our property manager essentially controlled our Board. The Board trusted her and went along with her recommendations (that she did work in their homes that was charged it to the association may have influenced them). The Board approved unnecessary expenditures then awarded the work to her company work without competitive bidding.

Several of us homeowners became concerned over the increasing expenses and rising assessments. We began attending board meetings, asking questions pertaining to expenditures and reviewed the association’s books and records.

We were appalled at what we discovered – payments to the management company for unnecessary repairs and replacements exceeding $100,000 and excessive charges for supplies such as $3 for light bulbs that could be purchased for 50 cents. When she was questioned, her responses were veiled threats that our costs would go up if we pursued changes.

As we brought these issues to light, we were demonized by the property manager as well as by individual board members. A group of us homeowners realized that the only way we to rein in this property manager was to regain control of our board.

We established a game plan to recapture board seats by fielding candidates for the two of six positions that were up for election each year. To win those elections, we needed to keep the other homeowners informed on an ongoing basis.

It was a troubling and disruptive time with opposing forces at work. Though they attempted to thwart us, going so far as to file fraudulent bylaw changes to prevent me from running for the board (something we discovered only after taking office), within 18 months of establishing our game plan, we had accomplished our goal – we held 4 of the 6 positions on the Board.

Among the first things we did was terminate the property manager’s contract. She didn’t go quietly though, taking with her the associations records and an unauthorized payment to her company of almost $30,000. Through court action, the documents were eventually retrieved, though the money was never returned.

The new board began implementing changes promised in our campaign. After just one year, at the annual meeting we reported on the tens of thousands of dollars we had saved.

We had become complacent, then had to fight to get control of our homes back.

What we experienced as a homeowners is a microcosm of what is happening around us. The threats we face today, though, are much vaster and much more serious.

Consider the external threats to our country:

• It is believed that Iran will be able to produce nuclear weapons within the next two years. Should they unleash them on Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles, we would experience death and destruction on the same scale as Nagasaki and Hiroshima. 9/11 would pale in comparison.

• In our country, we still have separation of church and state. Many countries around the world have become theocratic, merging religion and state into one entity. The religious laws are also the laws of the nation and those who disobey those religious laws are subject to criminal persecution, including death, for those transgressions. In those countries, women’s rights are non-existent and gays are executed. It is the mission of those theocrats to convert the world to their system.

• Terrorists whose tentacles emanated from the Middle East now reach into Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe. These terrorists believe that we are the evil ones, even though it was our brave young men and women who rode to the rescue of Europe (not once, but twice), who intervened when Muslims were being slaughtered in Bosnia and Somalia, and who have been the world’s primary peace keepers. These terrorists intend to inflict as much harm on us as possible, including harming innocents.

For people who live in communities bordering Mexico, the external threats are already in their backyards as their fears for their lives and property are just as real as the residents of various Chicago communities decimated by gang violence.

The internal threat, much more insidious, comes from a century old movement to convert our democratic republic into a socialist state without changing the constitution and without the implicit acceptance of the governed. (Note to those who believe ‘socialism’ is a racist word: socialism is an economic and governmental system that has nothing whatsoever to do with race.)

The questions every American should be asking themselves as we approach our midterm elections are:

• Does the government have the right (they have evidenced that they have the power) to take over private businesses or dictate the manner in which they operate if they are operating lawfully? GM and Chrysler, both private businesses, come to mind.

• Does the government have the right to change contracts between private parties? The shareholders and bondholders of GM and Chrysler come to mind.

• Does the government have the right to pick and choose who wins and who loses? The special deals that Nebraska and Louisiana citizens received in return for the yea votes of their senators come to mind.

• Does the government have the right to force its citizens to purchase a specific product or service? The requirement to purchase medical insurance comes to mind.

• Is our government being reckless with the large debt we are carrying? What happens when you borrow money from someone? You are in their debt which can be used to coerce you into doing things you would ordinarily be unwilling to do. The debt/coercion relationship has been the subject of movie and book plots, going back centuries.

What price will we pay as a nation for the huge debt we are carrying?

The purpose of this essay is not to convince you that one position is right and that another position is wrong.

The purpose of this essay is inspire you to open your eyes. If you don’t like what you see, it’s time to get involved to change it, just as we homeowners had had to do.

How do you get involved?

First, educate yourself. If there is anything in this essay that you don’t understand, research it. Seek out others’ opinions. Be open to others’ viewpoints.

Second, once you have formed your opinions on these issues, learn where your candidates stand on the issues. This fall, vote for the candidates that most closely resemble your positions. Avoid voting for someone based on one issue only. Pay attention to what they do not say as much as what they do say. And don’t ignore local elections – they are just as important.

Third, if you are so inclined, get involved in local activities and candidates’ campaigns. Many local groups are organizing to gear up for this fall’s elections and would welcome your involvement.

Our founding fathers made huge sacrifices in the pursuit of freedom. Freedom is fragile. What are you willing to do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *