What exactly is freedom? When you live in a country backed by a founding document that guarantees a variety of freedoms, from freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to representation, freedom for the pursuit of happiness, liberty and life; at what point do you wonder whether those rights have been eroded away, piece by piece, unnoticed until they’re gone?
These days you have to be careful what you say, you have to choose your words with political correctness, with a balance of sympathies, regardless of your opinion to which you have a right. As recent news headlines have revealed, cartoons mocking the Islamic faith, results in terrorism internally, results in death, and results in the media asking the question: just because you have the right of free speech, should it be exercised? Why do we permit these bobble heads on TV even question the basic rights we hold dear?
As ludicrous as that sounds, this is the state that we find ourselves in. Freedom of speech has now been tempered by the acts of extremists who are bent on our own destruction. Why is this permitted? This is a country founded on the premise that we can ridicule just about anything, including, and especially, ourselves, without having to worry about our own personal safety.
At what point are we expected to just bend over and acquiesce to those villains who have come here demanding our basic freedoms while imposing basic restrictions on what we can and cannot say based on their religious fanaticism? Regardless of our proclivity to temper our judgment, and to accept our cultural diversity, the media forgets that this is the United States of America, a country founded on freedoms by people willing to fight for the right to express themselves. And while we accept the cultural diversity, that does not mean that the inhabitants of this country can hide behind their hyphen-American status. I never understood the hyphen. Early immigrants from all over the world became Americans and made their mark. They still held their heritage dear to them, but this was their country and they would accept no argument against that.
The day that we are no longer able to express an oppositional thought or statement, is the day that the Constitution of United States becomes a worthless document. While our tolerance reaches out to cultural diversity, our patience does not and should not. Regardless of your heritage and your desire to remain affiliated with your past, you are either American or you are not American; there is no halfway point. You cannot be slightly pregnant. The rules only work one way.
What is surprising is that the arguments in favor of the Second Amendment are both hostile and eternal. But when it comes to tolerance from outsiders who have dictated to us what we can and cannot say, and what we can and cannot draw, we have not only been violated, but we have allowed it to happen. The old quote is that: all it takes for evil to win is for good men to do nothing. We do nothing. We watch devastating images on the television as people are gunned down and killed by extremists who have decided that they do not like our freedom of expression. We have talking heads on television spending countless hours rehashing why Americans need to rethink their basic rights. This is America. The answer is simple. If you don’t like it go home. Because while America is a melting pot. You are not welcome to bring your excess baggage with you. If you wish to be in this country then you need to be with this country. And if you don’t agree with this country then leave. The simple fact is, for all our faults, there are very few places in the world where you can have this much freedom. We should not have to put up with the extremists, especially those imported from elsewhere who are unwilling to adopt their new country, but rather do all in their power to defile it.
What is freedom? Freedom is not a gift. Freedom is not even a right, although it is protected by our Constitution. Freedom was the end result of a lot of bloodshed in the formation of this country, Imperfect as she is, this is a land where we can agree to disagree, and disagree and disagree, but it is not a land where we should be expected to become sheep so that we can allow others to dictate the terms of our own existence, and to kill us when we speak our mind.
In many ways our legal system, and our tolerance, may be our undoing. Those scheming to take advantage are plentiful, and even at the end of the day, after they have hurt us, we do not shoot them; we give them legal representation, we get them fairness, which is a lot more then they afford us in their own countries.
This is not an anti-Muslim statement. There are many, many Muslims in the world who are perfectly normal, perfectly American citizens for whom these acts of terror are abhorrent. It is certainly time that they stood up and were heard alongside the rest of us. The acts of a handful of people should not dictate the terms of the nation. And the reality of terror is that without fear, there is no substance.
What is freedom? Freedom is only as good as what you are willing to fight for. Freedom does not come cheaply. There will always be people wishing to take our freedom away, and that is where unity – as in the term, the United States of America – has a meaning, not unlike the Pledge of Allegiance; one nation, with liberty and justice for all, regardless whom your God may be. It just takes a lot of work, and you just can’t let go for a moment because somebody will steal it from you when you’re not looking.
What are your thoughts?