The freedoms granted by living in the United States are a burden as much as they are a gift. As Americans, we have the freedom to live how we want and the liberty to choose what we believe. While some Americans feel that they can choose what is best for their own lives, many feel the need to seek guidance from external sources. Many Americans rely on advice from daytime television or advice columns. They seem to thrive on being told what to do, as it gives them both a sense of belonging and direction, while also diminishing their personal responsibility.

Many Americans look to the government for guidance as well. Some people want regulation on things such as junk food simply because it would be easier for them to avoid. Rather than take the responsibility to follow through with their own beliefs, they want the government to enforce them. New York’s “soda ban” that prohibits many sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces is a prime example of both citizens and politicians acting as if Americans are incapable of making positive choices for themselves. The government should not be required to hold the hands of its citizens and help them with their diet.

The role that the government should play in matters such as the “soda ban” should be limited to taxation and education. The state government could implement a small tax on the sale of large portions of surgery drinks. The revenue from this tax could, in turn, pay for better education concerning the health risks involved with consuming large quantities of soda and similar drinks.

Many people talk about how the government needs to solve the homeless problem, but would never think of trying to do something themselves. This is because it is much easier to pay taxes and hope that some of that money will go to the social issues, rather than donating both time and money. The local government should provide opportunities and incentives to citizens that want to help with issues such as homelessness.

The American people need to relearn how to take initiative and make their own lives, find their own beliefs and follow through with their goals. The American people want progress, but only if it’s spoon-fed to them.

• Nathan Davis lives in Naches.