Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the state of our country, and I’ve come to the realization that “freedom” is a word that has been both grossly misinterpreted and fetishized to the masses. I believe that many Americans use the word “freedom” to blindly be patriotic without a real reason to. Let’s take a deeper look, shall we?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives freedom several definitions. One definition reads, “The quality or state of being free.” The second definition is “a political right.” Given these definitions, I don’t feel that America is truly as “free” as everyone thinks, and I have plenty of examples supporting this.
Technically, we are a country that has “freedom of religion.” There’s no punishment by law for any religious practices, or lack thereof, but there’s certainly ways that Christianity is ingrained as the default, such as on our money and our pledge of allegiance (“Under God” wasn’t added to it until the ‘50s during the Red Scare, I might add). Jewish people and Muslims should not have to live in fear with neo-Nazis marching in the streets, their places of worship being attacked and vandalized and being victimized in a hate crime.
There’s plenty of other hate-based violence besides religion (race-based, gender-based, sexually-based, etc.), and it is all appalling. We are all human. We all want to be happy and be loved, so why should we judge others for superficial things?
Additionally, we have some of the highest occurrences of gun violence in the developed world. It’s not normal to constantly hear about the mass shooting of the week at a school, church, mall, concert, etc., yet still so few are concerned about ending this epidemic. There’s plenty of reasonable things that can be done to help the gun and violence problem, but many Americans are not open-minded enough and fear losing their guns. No one wants to take away all guns, but restrictions and reasonable laws will help.
Our healthcare system is problematic as well.
Pharmaceutical companies raise prices absurdly high and take advantage of the sick and suffering. Not everyone has good health insurance, and people have had to set up GoFundMe accounts to pay for their insulin or chemotherapy. Americans have died from not being able to afford basic medication.
Soaring costs of education burden young people, and, for some, it creates a lifetime of debt. Others must resort to joining the military as a last resort to get an education or a career. People should not have to put their life on the line to get educated or ensure that they have healthcare or meals.
Yet it still happens every day. I’m not saying that it isn’t a valid option, because it certainly is, but are you truly “free” if you must sacrifice your home and safety to try to get ahead in the world?
I believe that, if you really put a lot of thought into it, our country could have a lot more freedom. Sure, we are a lot better off than many other countries, but we still could be doing so much better than what we are.
The kicker is, it won’t happen until everyone unites against the evils of poverty and injustice. What are you going to do to make this country a better place?