He stood behind me in the checkout line. It was Saturday morning 8 AM. From my perspective, it is the best time for grocery shopping. That and the fact that it would be a modern day miracle if I was able to sleep beyond 5:30 AM. It is a great time because the overnight crew restocked the shelves. Well, mostly. There are lots of empty spaces in the parking lot. The parking slots are not filled with abandoned grocery carts, but they are full of drink cups, fast food bags, and the contents of car cigarette ashtrays. I wonder about people who throw their garbage into a parking lot. Especially within a few feet of a garbage can. It is the most obvious sign of disrespect. They probably have little respect for their own property too – a couch on the front porch and an engine block in the front yard. Sort of resembles the relationship Washington’s political class has with America – with Middle America being the parking lot.
But, back to the guy standing behind me. With the groceries, the wife was also trying to purchase a gift card. The cashier had trouble with the transaction and sought help from a supervisor. The lady with the magic key who unlocks cash registers and solves problems promptly appeared. The problem was the gift card itself. It would not activate and neither would several more of the same value and brand. Finally, we found a different brand gift card of the same value that worked. The fee to activate and buy this one was more. Like it or not, we were stuck with the more costly one. It was that choice or nothing. At least no one was threatening to fine us if we chose not to buy the more expensive one. Maybe we should suggest a magic key lady for the Obamacare website developers. Well maybe not.
Oh, the guy behind me?
He was a big man. Graying just a bit around the edges. Maybe 6 feet 4 and some change. Easily 280 pounds. He was a little flushed, red faced, and fidgety. He kept shuffling his feet and finally started looking around for what I presumed was another open register. He had one item. If he had gone to the self-checkout line he may have been long ago into the parking lot kicking the abandoned pop cups out of his way. He could be somewhere else enjoying the breakfast drink he was trying to buy. The one item he was standing in line for? A half-gallon bottle of Jim Beam whiskey. At 8 AM. That was a bit much to be the hair of the dog. Unless it was a very big, ugly, gnarly ole junk yard dog. Speaking of ornery dogs, he could be recovering from a bout with healthcare.gov or our government in general. Or, maybe he is one of the millions of Americans who have given up looking for work. Thrown in the towel. Knocked out by incompetent politicians. Looking to drown his sorrows. Or maybe he is just a man who enjoys his Jim Beam. A breakfast snort. Just a glass, no ice. And no problems until the bottle is empty and it is the next morning and the next. It resembles the way Congress handles our money. I think we are nearing the bottom of the last bottle. Reckon we will sober up before we are all destitute and living under a bridge?
As boring to you as my Saturday morning may seem, it is a perfect picture of the power of freedom. The supermarket, were I can find everything from a garden rake to what’s for dinner is an important lesson in freedom and free markets. It is the essence of what propelled America to the very top of the prosperity heap and in record time as history goes. People seeking wealth, a bad word these days, developed products that other people needed or desired. From their ideas, industries emerged to make their products. Millions are employed to bring the products to the supermarket shelves. Many different brands of the same product compete. People buy the products they like. It is a perpetual cycle of wealth building. No one tells the store the variety or types of products they have to sell. No one tells the customer the product that must be purchased. When government is allowed to infringe by telling people they must have a certain product, no matter the product, freedom is lost. The cycle of wealth building, prosperity building, is broken. When the people stand by and allow such government infringement, they forfeit freedom.
Freedom cannot be taken, it can only be given away. Congress does not have to repeal the freedom stealing Obamacare. The American people will do it by refusing to participate. Refusing to forfeit their freedom.