I don’t know about ya’ll but we had an amazing time with family during the Christmas season! Charlene and I had kids and grandkids at the house all of last week. We gathered with about 25 family members in Huntsville one night, and this past Saturday got together with my Mom and brother and family members … so good! On one of those evenings, my adult kids stood around in the kitchen with Charlene and me laughing and telling stories and it just blessed me. I thought to myself at one point, “this is what really matters.”

There’s a reason why solitary confinement is considered harsh punishment. There’s a reason why social distancing is considered abnormal. We are social creatures by nature. As a general rule, we Americans believe in the value of family and relationships, and typically we don’t cotton to being told that those we love are not supposed to be around us or us around them.

Out of all the frustrations of the past two years, I think the culminating events have been the deprivations of our freedoms of assembly, the right to gather. I don’t think that any of us ever questioned the need to require a permit for a parade or a protest. No one minds having to pay for a ticket to a concert or a sporting event. But stipulations on assembly in the past two years got weird. They came for our churches. They came for our businesses, and our ability to travel. Most egregiously they came for our families.

Think about it: they may not have come into your home per se and said you can’t gather for Christmas, but you have definitely been told where your family cannot gather. In some places in our nation, we are still seeing families unable to dine out together in their favorite restaurant. Families that live remote from each other have been unable to get their flights because of canceled airlines, and when they do, it's mask up or else. Even here in Alabama, we’ve experienced the inability to attend church services together or, sadly enough, to visit a loved one in the hospital or nursing home. I know people who never got to say their goodbyes as loved ones passed away alone among strangers in a medical facility where the fear of covid liability surmounted compassion for the mental and emotional well-being of their physically challenged patient.

I’m just going to throw this out there: if Charlene was (God forbid) in a hospital and they said I couldn’t come and see the love of my life, I would find a pair of scrubs and a lab coat, pick up a clipboard, don a mask and waltz in the employees-only entrance like I owned the place and scour the floors like a bloodhound until I found her room … because it matters! It really matters.

That said, on a recent morning as I was preparing for Rightside Radio, I came across an op-ed on The Hill magazine’s site. Written by a professor at the Catholic University of America the piece was titled “The Constitution isn’t working.” My first thought was “for who?” The article went on to describe with great presumed authority that the vast majority of Americans would be better off if we just did away with that archaic document that does nothing for we contemporary citizens of an enlightened world. That same document that enshrines our freedoms of assembly, among others, matters. The author expressed such views as one would expect from an ivory tower elitist and even invoked the January 6th protests at the US Capitol as grounds for scratching out the veracity of the most important and foundational document written since the dark ages. He ended in fine fashion by stating that “the Constitution isn’t working. It’s time for a little rebellion.

(I want to know if the January 6th commission and the Biden DOJ will be investigating the author for inciting insurrection. I’m not holding my breath.)

That same morning, I also watched in disbelief as a video made the rounds on social media of no less than half a dozen NYPD Officers surrounding the table of a mother and what appeared to be her 5-year-old son, letting them know (as the child started to cry in fear) that they could either show proof of vaccination or they would have to leave the restaurant. The family was told on camera that anything less would be subject to arrest and penalties under color of law - right here in our country during the Christmas week of 2021!

I say all of these things because we have to be reminded, in the midst of the liberal chaotic browbeating that the media and some in government have elected to promote, that there is more to the story. We have rights. We have a voice, and we have a right to assembly, to freely associate with our families and friends, with fellow worshippers, and with those with whom we work together to earn a living.

The liberal professor who wrote the piece about the Constitution made the mistake of thinking that the rebellion he is calling for would draw support, first of all (so out of touch). But he really mistook the enlightened notion of doing away with our Constitution as something that would go unanswered, or for that matter that his side would win. Liberals don’t really get it. They don’t know why it matters to us so much.

You see, this is not a society that has been generationally subjected to the whims of the “Dear Leader” without whom we cannot function. America is known, not just for its economic and military might, but also for the absolute free-spirited, entrepreneurial, loyal-to-a-fault, sometimes reckless, open range pioneering get-the-job-done attitude that winners carry with them across the finish line. As a people, we don’t sit idly by and we don’t long suffer fools. We will liberate the oppressed, speak for the downtrodden, and punch tyrants right in the mouth - and we’ll do all that before breakfast. I had a sign on my wall in Baghdad that said, “Win Friends, Kill Enemies.” and that about sums it up.

As we enter into 2022, I have been once again deeply reminded - right down to my core - that all of this “freedom stuff” matters. So, if you haven’t “assembled” with friends and loved ones yet there is still time. It is your right.

It really matters.

Phil Williams is a former State Senator, retired Army Colonel and combat veteran, and a practicing Attorney. He has served with the leadership of the Alabama Policy Institute and currently hosts Rightside Radio M-F 2-5pm on WVNN. His column appears every Monday in 1819 News. To contact Phil or request him for a speaking engagement go to www.rightsideradio.org The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.