Ayla Brown had just finished her rendition of the national anthem Tuesday, with the words “land of the free and the home of the brave” still reverberating through the building, when the candidates taking part in the Republican presidential debate began telling us how scared we all are.

The solution to our fear, they said, is to restrict our freedoms. (Not the Second Amendment freedom, of course, but those less important ones, like the First Amendment.) If all those angry candidates understood the term, even they might appreciate the irony!

The most important job of the president, they say, is to keep us safe. To protect our safety, they are willing to trample on any other ideals that might have been considered when this country was founded.

Was the American Revolution fought to keep us safe? Was the Civil War fought to keep us safe? Are there really no ideals higher than safety? If so, how do our candidates continue to express their deep religious feelings without blushing shamefully? I’m just wondering.

Jack Finn