Todd’s Thoughts January 2018

 

In the U.S. the word “freedom” rings in our ears like the dinner bell of Pavlov’s salivating dogs. It represents an ideal we’ve been conditioned to respond to through our cultural myths about the good intentions of our “founding fathers,” of the countless brave heroes who’ve fought and died to protect our freedoms, as a privilege all Americans share, and as the great gift we are manifestly destined to bring to the entire world. The problem, in addition to these myths being historically unfounded, is that the bell of freedom has a different ring of truth for different people, striking a discordant note between groups clashing with each other in the name of the same thing—freedom! For some, it means “the freedom to do whatever the hell I want,” even at the expense of others. It means freedom taxes, freedom from rules and regulations, freedom to exploit and oppress, freedom to own weapons of war, freedom from anything that interferes with the gratification of our own desires. For others it means the freedom of dissent, the freedom to express oneself, the freedom to speaks one’s own ideas and to hold one’s own beliefs without repercussions from society, the law, or religious institutions. And, for others, it means the freedom to participate equally in the full benefits of society, the freedom to love who we love, the freedom to live and work without being sexually harassed, the freedom to go down the street without fearing we might end up in prison or shot dead by a cop, the freedom to live in a safe neighborhood, to send our kids to good schools, and access to jobs that are rewarding in every way.

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