by Cheri Saccone, Contributing Writer, Moms for America
We have all heard the parable of the frog in the boiling water. The premise is that if a frog is suddenly put into boiling water it will jump out. On the other hand, if the frog is put into lukewarm water, it will stay put as the water slowly heats to a boil and ends up—well, . . . croaking. Okay, bad joke. But every one of us gets the lesson here. What individuals (and in this case nations) will do in a series of small steps is entirely different than what they will do in one big step; even though those several steps—or that solitary leap—land them in the exact same spot. How do we make sense of that? How do we explain the fact that we are intelligent enough not to leap toward our destruction, but we are dumb enough to inch slowly toward it instead?
I think the answer is obvious. The same tool of desensitization that guitarists use to build calluses on their fingers is the same tool that malevolent forces and figures use to build calluses on our minds and hearts. We sit in the water that is slowly heating up and our ever-deepening calluses protect us from the escalating temperature surrounding us, and because of this desensitization, we are unable to sense our impending doom.
But there is a silver lining in all of this. We have been given a gift. Yes, it’s a gift. The heat has turned up rapidly, and the rapid rate of increase is enough to finally wake us up. No more of the slow turning of the knob. We just went from 150 degrees to 212 degrees, and we’re all looking around at each other going, “I think it’s time to bolt, don’t you?”
You may think I’m talking too much in code, so I’ll be straight. Our liberties have been methodically, strategically, and incrementally removed from us. Why? Well, there are other people far better suited to answer that question than I am. But make no mistake, it has been happening, and it is currently happening. Being that we are more prone to stay put in the slowly heating water (and this warm water is in some strange way comforting and soothing), most of us—including myself—have just kind of gone with the flow.
However, the recent and sudden spike in temperature is far from comfortable. It’s the opposite of soothing. It is alarming and unnerving. If you feel that flutter in your chest, that tightening in your gut, and that eerie sensation on the back of your neck that there is something ominous in the air, then you are not alone. Many of us moms all across this country feel the exact same way. We thought that the alarm was coming from a dangerous virus. And at first, it was. But now, that tightness in our guts is coming from a constellation of forces that have moved into that legitimately fearful gap that has split wide open in the heart of our nation; and this same constellation of forces have begun to test how fast they can turn up the heat without us jumping out of that hot water we’ve all become so accustomed to.
The virus is real. The fear around the virus is legitimate. All our “mom alarm bells” are rightly going off. They should be. It’s our job to protect our young and when there is a looming threat, we’d be foolish to ignore it or minimize it. But—and there is a big but here—being concerned and wanting to be safe do not equal giving up our freedoms. It can’t! That would be like living in a highly dangerous prison with one year left to serve until we are free, and the warden suddenly waltzing into our cell and saying, “Hey, I’ll transfer you to a nicer, larger, warmer, safer cell, but there’s one small catch. You’ll have to serve the rest of your life in prison instead of just one more year.” That would be crazy to do and everyone knows that. That isn’t a trade-off at all. That’s just further imprisonment and bondage.
Right now, we’re being told that if we cooperate and “believe the experts” (air quotes here because virtually every expert and every model has been wrong so far) that we will be safe. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or even believe in the “deep state” to see that abdicating freedoms to a lumbering, ineffective bureaucracy (who NEVER gives anything back to its citizens that it takes away) is a bad idea—plain and simple. The only reason we have been able to make the unprecedented advances we have made thus far in this great nation is because we’ve had the freedom to do so. We may not know what the answer to this concerning problem (COVID-19) is, but we do know what it’s not. And that’s a pretty darn good place to start.
A few weeks ago (before the world literally turned upside down), I found myself wide awake at 3 am. I really wanted to watch Netflix, but I knew I would end up staying up all night watching repeat episodes of Arrested Development. So I decided to act like a grown-up and read an actual book instead. I know—shocking. The book was about a woman who escaped from a cult compound that she was raised in. I was immediately gripped by this woman’s story, but there was a particular line that jumped out at me in the first chapter. She explained how the leader continuously injected fear into his people. He tested his powers of manipulation by turning up the heat so high that the people—especially the mothers—feared for their lives and for their children’s lives. In the end, the community gave him ultimate power and submitted completely.
The author wrote this chilling statement, “Freedom was swapped for security.”
I woke up this morning remembering that line and how I felt when I read it. I went back to read it again and discovered that it is the only line I underlined in the entire book. It was like a warning shot coming from the night sky. I heard the shot. Can you hear it now?
Dear Moms, please don’t trade your freedom for security—a false sense of security at that. Whatever we do moving forward, let it be done with our freedoms and liberties securely, uncompromisingly, and unflinchingly at our sides.
The heat has turned up. We can either collapse under its terrible pressure, or we can leap out and finally recognize what has been happening for far longer than we care to admit. We may still not be safe when we jump out, but at least we will have a chance. I know which camp I’m in. What about you?