Larry Buford

Note: This is a revised excerpt  from the book “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” by Larry Buford

If driving a car is a privilege, sex a preference, parenthood a choice, and immigration conditional – to name just a few issues – why in the world are so many people defending and/or clamoring for rights these days? Rights in the sense of demanding things otherwise deemed a privilege, preference, choice, or conditional?

Why? Because of legislation! Legislation is the basis for rights, and it’s the subtle lawmaking that serves as precedent for greater laws with the effect of a snowball rolling downhill. Citizens who shirk their responsibility to vote – to speak out against the absurd and the frivolous; to challenge those outrageous moral issues that (on the surface) seem non-threatening – are like a State Trooper who spots a speeding, reckless driver, but does nothing. Without challenge or opposition, those same issues will only continue to grow, reaching avalanche proportions, as we are experiencing on many moral fronts today. For sure, we should be sensitive to others, but we also have to call it like it is!

Morality is the firm foundation of any civil God-fearing society, and conducive to abundant living. The antithesis of morality is lawlessness. By and large, we as a society are overlooking, and even abandoning, some basic truths and facts about our human existence.  The extremist liberal views of some lawmakers are now allowing things that were unimaginable just a generation ago. And morality will continue to decline unless we have strong gatekeepers who can read the moral compass, and make right decisions when things tend to veer off course!  It’s been said, what one generation does in moderation, the next generation does in excess! If we sow the wind, our children will reap the whirlwind. The Apostle Paul wrote, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:” [1 Corinthians 6:12] The little indiscretions; the subtleties we thought to be fun and harmless, are literally killing us now as a people, and we’ve become apathetic, paralyzed, and desensitized so that most of us don’t stand up, or cry out anymore about the things we know are working against us.

The American Heritage Dictionary’s first definitionof the word “right” is, “conforming with or conformable to justice, law, or morality.” It also offers other descriptive words like  fact, reason, truth, fitting, proper, straight, and just, among others. Businesses thrive on these attributes, and we’ve all seen the consequence of businesses (like Enron), and administrations (like Saddam Hussein’s), that crumble due to lack of a firm, solid, moral foundation. So then, what about our country?  What about America?

What Is Tolerance?

Taking a ride along today’s freeways can be a lesson in tolerance. Tolerance to the degree that, okay, we choose to drive this vehicle or that; we choose to look a certain way, or act a certain way in our vehicles; and we may even choose to drive a certain way. So in that sense, we can tolerate so long as drivers don’t deliberately bang into other drivers, and they know when to hit the brakes. I think that’s something we can all live with, knowing that rules and laws are in place to ensure reasonable safety and precaution; and knowing the law will eventually catch up to those who continue to break it. There are so many different people, from all walks of life, whose personalities seem to be revealed by the style of their mode of transportation, or the manner in which they choose to drive. Different, and yet all have a mutual goal – to arrive at a specified or intended destination. This probably more than anything illustrates our liberty, our will, our determination to wander as we please.

Traffic accidents are inevitable. With millions of drivers on the road everyday, anything can go wrong at any time. But when accidents happen, lawmakers are not inclined to change basic driving laws. Laws may be modified, bringing stiffer penalties upon those like drunk drivers, who are a threat to the safety of others. Laws against drunk driving have been on the books for years to undergird and encourage a civil code of conduct. Safety belts have been available in cars for years, and have been highly recommended for use. It is only in recent years that many states have outlawed not wearing them. The bottom line for these stiffened penalties is to promote safety. People have different motivations and agendas, but what sense does it make for those who deliberately break the law, to turn around and petition for a law to protect them so they can continue their illicit behavior? That makes about as much sense as passing a law that will allow drivers to share a one lane highway while driving in opposite directions. What absurdity! We can’t have it both ways, and yet, that is what we have allowed on the moral highway of life. Ignoring red flags, like ignoring red brake lights, spells danger! Put on the brakes!

“What am I driving at, how am I driving, and where am I going?” are the questions we should be asking ourselves. “What message am I carrying; what signal am I sending; what is my cargo or baggage; and ultimately, what is the course, the whole purpose? Am I really looking out for the best interest of others, or is my motivation purely self-gratification?” If we’re really honest with ourselves, we’ll realize that if we were to drive our cars on the highway the way we’re driving our moral values, we’d be getting nowhere fast.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) Available at Smiley’s Bookstore in Carson CA, Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara CA, and Shantinique’s in Detroit MI. Visit the author at (213) 220-8101


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