There are journalists and bloggers all over the world in hiding. There are people who advocate for the oppressed and end up in jail. People who share controversial ideas are imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, and threatened.
We live in a country of “freedom”. People can publish what they want, blog about anything, advocate for anyone and, likely, stay out of jail. Not receive threats to their lives. Sleep soundly in their beds at night.
But I wonder how free we really are. I don’t want this thought to take anything away from the horrors of those who do live in fear for their lives, but I do want to think about what freedom really means. We are told we have it so we assume it is a great gift.
What drives everything in this fine country of ours? (she writes sarcastically…) Money. So when we cannot survive without money, we have to start to compromise. Entertainment is driven by money. What movies and tv shows are played, they define our culture, are driven by the commercials that support them.
The trends we have in our life: music, clothes, make up, technology is driven by making a profit. So to make that profit it is important to market in a way that make people need this product. When we feel we need something (to fit in, to be cool, and to stay culturally relevant…) we buy things we really don’t need and we buy them for the wrong reason. To meet some standard of beauty set by businessmen. To make money for their company.
We have to work, so we can make money to buy everything we need and everything we think we need. We need to work for big corporations so we can have decent health insurance and retirement funds. So we have to sell out to these organizations in order to stay employed. We cannot challenge our employees or their missions or policies because they have the power. They have the right to fire us and the monetary dominoes start falling
We cannot look at issues from an un-bias stand point because money sets the bias. Is milk really that good for you? Could there be other things just as great? No idea, because the dairy industry is so huge they buy the right to say “Milk is amazing!”
Look at the bias that religion has put on our nation (yup, I know I just really pissed a few of you off.) It defines marriage and family and acceptance and “love” for all Americans. Even those who don’t identify with the dominate religion. (I’ll just stop there… That may be a book I write someday though).
We cannot talk about the respect and safety of our children in schools without the NRA changing the conversation to something completely different and making it about “The right to bear arms”. Soon, we are not thinking about how to make America safer for our children, for its citizens, for its immigrants, but we are talking about “The right to bear arms”. How is this freedom? This is people with power, setting the agenda. This is people with power, changing the conversation. To meet their needs.
I don’t think we are as free as we really believe we are Americans. We have more battles to fight. Not in foxholes on enemy soil, but from the fox holes we are trapped in by the .001% of the Americans who have decided what America is today.
I don’t feel free right now. I feel censored. I feel powerless. I feel that I am living up to standards that I don’t even realize were not set by me.
I will not end on that despondent note though… I will thank a few people that I see using their power in a way that speaks the truth. The interesting this is these people are not politicians or CEO’s they are comedians: