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The Other Side of the Tracks blog by Word Press

As A Condition of Your Freedom

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

September 6, 2011

By Perry Redd

As the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 approaches, we are constantly reminded of two things: safety and
freedom.  The narrative is that if we are kept safe, then we can enjoy freedom.  I venture to ask: if we are bound by the fear of a lack of safety, then how can we be free?

I watch and now anticipate the coming Congressional schedule of events that include several fiscal items left undone in the last session.  The debt ceiling debate will re-surface, the nation’s budget will have to be passed, FAA funding and the like.  All items that should have been reconciled last session, but the uncompromising positions of the Tea party caucus held—and still hold—the country and its progress hostage.

This will to be non-compromising by the Republicans only made me re-examine the losses Blacks have taken in compromising with the white American majority.  The very people who are defending segregation, dragged their feet on integration, are diligently fighting to end affirmative action and institute voter suppression through voter ID laws are the ones unwilling to spend money on new construction projects, trying to end jobless benefits, erasing environmental and labor protections, cutting taxes  for profitable oil companies and the wealthiest Americans.  When will I stop compromising with them?

In my soon-to-be-released book, “As a Condition of Your Freedom,” I say in the forward that as a condition of your freedom, you must assess how much you’re willing to give.  If you give too much, then you’ve made your freedom ineffectual.  Freedom is not only a physical  phenomenon, but freedom encompasses one’s spirit, one’s intellect and one’s emotion.  A prohibition on any one of those elements effectually holds one in bondage.

The text was written to inform Americans on where they’ve surrendered their actual freedom for a unreasonable facsimile.  Simply because you can buy an X-Box or travel to the marina does not make you free.  In America, you are not free to live wherever you choose.  Gated communities are the most obvious reminder of that reality.  As of the writing of the book, if you are a gay American who wants to practice marriage to a same-sex partner, you can only get married and/or recognized as married in six states.  Everywhere else, you are prohibited from practicing that freedom that other Americans might enjoy.

In some areas of my hometown, though you own your home, you may not be able to cookout in your front yard.  This is a decision made by people who don’t pay your mortgage, nor employ you.  Is that truly freedom?  One must question his/her interpretation of freedom.  In that, you must decide how much you are willing to give in order to obtain and maintain your ideal level freedom.

The term freedom is not a light word to toss around.  Most Americans cling to the concept.  But in reality, they misinterpret its true  definition.  Why is that, you may ask?  It is because a privileged few have formed the narrative.  The homeland security complex have worked long and hard to form your understanding of freedom through various means: fear, sports and nationalism, just to name a few.  Gallup reports that 77 percent of Americans said the U.S. economy is getting worse, up from 71 percent two weeks prior and 64 percent a month ago. Meanwhile, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that 73 percent of Americans believe the United States is “off on the wrong track.”  Those same Americans will easily say that “America is the greatest country on earth.”  This refrain is made only to shore up their perception of freedom.

Never mind, we have street cameras on every third corner in my neighborhood.  Cars and cell phones are all manufactured with GPS devices installed and the Patriot Act is still alive and kicking.  You’re only as free as the homeland security complex allows you to be.  After all of that, we still have persistent questions with safety.  So what do we do?  We approve giving them more of our safety to gain something we say we already had, freedom.

The cycle is insanity. Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying,” Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  I just can’t see being comfortable with living in fear to enjoy a movie or bowling in between working my unprotected job.  I happen to agree with Franklin that we deserve neither, because we’ve done just that.  We’ve compromised with the very people who claim to protect our “freedoms.”  Conservatives have stripped all responsibility that corporations had to not rape you in the marketplace.  All that you’ve worked for over your career as an adult laborer are on the chopping block by politicians that make up some of the richest members of Congress.

Did you know that one-fifth of the 50 richest members of Congress are freshman House Republicans sent to Washington last year with strong Tea Party support, according to The Hill’s 50 Wealthiest for 2011. Ohio’s Rep. Jim Renacci, the wealthiest of the 87 freshman Republicans elected in 2010, has an estimated net worth of $35.9 million and is the 11th richest lawmaker in Congress.  Do you seriously think these people care about—or will—protect your freedom?  They surely didn’t get rich by concerning themselves with that.

As we approach the 9/11 anniversary, don’t be compromised by the scare tactics and illusions of liberty—i.e., freedom—that will be whispered in your ear.  At the same time, they’re whispering in your ear, you’re being robbed…of your freedom.


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