by Gina Capristo-Gajdosik
We Americans love to throw this word around, but what does it really mean in our current political climate? I believe it may be worth considering, since freedom is a concept not always practiced. If you follow the words of the Holy Bible or the Koran, or The “Church of Scientology” or any other religion of choice, you are subject to differing versions of what you are free to do or not free to do. You are choosing to live with constraints, proposed by an institution looking out for your best interest.
If you are an undocumented citizen in America, you can now be detained or deported. If you are black in this country, you can be shot without provocation. Black people have consistently accounted for close to half the country’s homicide victims, making up more than fifty percent of the broader pool of those killed overall every year since 2010. The number of black victims increased by 15% in 2015 over 2014.
Are we free from debt? Free from ignorance? Free from pollution and pesticides? An average of 130,136 calls to poison control centers were reported from 2006 to 2010, with an average of 20,116 cases treated in health care facilities annually for exposure to pesticides.
Free from worry or stress? Do we have free healthcare and free transportation and free access to knowledge? In the “Land of the Free” we didn’t even have a free election and unfortunately, this situation seems to be the current trend worldwide; Is this freedom?
Many Americans are in debt or are unable to pay their medical and hospital bills. Our healthcare is in jeopardy of being changed or even eliminated, is that freedom? Are Americans free to move to another country? Maybe, but it depends on the country.
Are we free to love who we wish? Not according to some Christians, Muslims and Catholics, and our government leaders are actually seeking to turn back LGBTQ rights that have been ruled by our courts.
How about the notion that “Freedom isn’t Free?” What does that really mean? It’s propaganda and it simply means you may be asked to fight a war against a foreign enemy and not question it. It means at some point you may be asked to risk your life for that freedom. Are you willing to do that for this country?
I used to believe in noble causes. My country, The United States of America, was one of a kind, the moral leaders of the free world:
- The United States of America took in refugees and believed in equality.
- The United States of America had the finest schools and we believed that innovation was paramount to a free and ever-expanding workforce.
- The United States of America believed in a fair and just society, not just for a few but for all. We believed in America because America believed in us.
We, the People, were given the keys to the kingdom, but only if we followed the rules and played nice. Most Americans were completely on-board with this: and then the rules changed. The 99% have been dismissed like old cattle to live out their lives grazing on burnt grass. America is no longer the beacon of hope that it once was, but the result of what happens when you turn a government into a profit center. We are no better than a third world country with a dictator at the helm. This present administration has stated – without hesitation – that its goal is to dismantle the Administrative State.
All our high ideals have been replaced by “cloak and dagger” deals, chess pieces moving around the board, but none taken. It’s highly suspect and extremely sobering. The United States of America is becoming almost unrecognizable compared to President Obama’s two terms in office, and it only took a matter of months for the unraveling of our Democracy to begin.