A Political Moment: Freedom isn’t free, people

I wanted to write, as I usually do, about aspects of the writing process and challenges I have faced during that process.

I can’t.  Not today.

You see, in my country right now, supposedly a bastion of freedom, there is a lot of injustice.  There is a lot of oppression.  Crime, violence, death, ignorance, racism, all sadly stocked and discounted.  Plenty for everyone, step right up!  What is the most appalling part about it, though, is to see so many people, normal citizens as far as I can tell, who comment on the news in forums, on websites, on news articles, who are apologists for such things.

When other people rightfully respond with outrage after militarized police stalk our streets or an unarmed man is murdered while surrendering or police choke and kill a man on camera, they come out of the woodwork.  They tell us that ‘anger never solved anything’ and ‘speaking out against the government is a serious crime’ and ‘let the police handle it’ and ‘the cops wouldn’t need all that gear if everyone was peaceful’ and so on.  People like that are ignorant, not only of human nature but our country’s history.

The United States of America is a country that was founded by rebellion.  It was founded by sedition.  It was founded by treason.  Most vitally, the U.S.A. was founded by people who stood up against what they say was injustice and tyranny and realized that the system would never change until they took drastic action.  At the end of the day, when that kind of injustice rises once again, that kind of action needs to be taken again.

The phrase ‘freedom is not free’ was originally coined to honor the volunteer armed forces of my country and it still applies there.  I feel it is also applicable to the general concept of freedom.  The natural inclination of many people is to secure power, to concentrate it, and, in gaining their own ultimate freedom, deny others of theirs.  So, to ensure freedom for all, we must all pay a price.  A price in vigilance, a price in defiance of those who would obstruct freedom, and sometimes a dearer price when freedom bites us on the rear.

In short: The protests that have risen against these black events staining American freedom, even when they grow violent, are things to be encouraged, supported, and not stamped down.  Should the violent elements be arrested?  Sure, but not at the expense of arresting and harming every peaceful protester in the process.  Should the police be decked out in fatigues with armored vehicles and military weaponry in response to a peaceful protest?  No, never.

“What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

– Thomas Jefferson