Having just returned from a month-long stay at our other home in Sweden where we have real health care — a system where citizens pay no out-of-pocket expenses — among many more benefits of a social democratic society, we might share a few ideas about meaningful freedom, respect and responsibility.
While we are sometimes a little bit daunted by the influx of so many foreigners in what was previously a blond and blue-eyed society, it is really remarkable how open the Swedes are to sharing the good life with less fortunate people. Foreigners are offered refuge from warlords and quasi-religious fanatics, and not without considerable consequences, but they are not at all bitter about the sacrifices they have to make in order to accomplish this greater humanitarian sharing responsibility.
On the other hand, here at home, in the otherwise bucolic tranquility of our privileged South Whidbey community, some of our less generous — or might we say less civilized — neighbors continue to be obsessed with their private property.
For example: In Sweden, it is unlawful for owners to prohibit people from traversing natural trails through or even camping upon private property, simply because someone owns it, but here in the so-called land of the free and home of the brave, one might actually be arrested or even shot for trespassing private property.
Think about that and ask yourself if we might learn something about sharing. Let’s hope so.
Siv and RJ Hackeling
Clinton and Langley