Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The True Meaning of "Freedom"

By: Daniel Friedman

We stand today in celebration of the 230th year of American Independence.
Jaded by the freedoms our Constitution provides us, we often take our
liberties for granted. Today, too many Americans are ready to throw away the
quilt of American freedom for an imaginary security blanket that is likely
to be as successful as the “Peanuts” character Linus's was. Blinded by
insecurity, America has been led like sheep to the slaughterhouse with
promises of security in exchange for freedom.

It's important to ask ourselves one question this 4th of July, and that is
"What is freedom?" "Freedom" has become commercialized these days; it is
used by almost anyone seeking to rationalize an unjust action, by citing
"freedom" as the force that necessitates it. Actions taken by a private
citizen or an elected official, whether they are immoral or illegal, if they
are taken in the name of freedom, we ought to question their true motives.
The term "Freedom" cannot be thrown around for the benefit of a sound bite,
or a bumper sticker punch line. That demeans the true meaning of the term,
and what we as a nation did to fight for it for 230 years.

True freedom, at its very core, is the essence of who we are as Americans.
It is a defining term, one whose true meaning and limitations should be
debated and decided in the highest Courts; but it is also something that all
Americans should fight and die for. There are those around the world, in
nations far and wide, who are fighting for that very freedom we enjoy today.
Studying their examples should be a task we all take on this 4th of July, so
that we can better understand what true freedom really is.

There was a time, in this very nation, when "Freedom" was spoken in hushed
tones, in awe and with reverence. Those times have passed, and as we have
grown accustomed to the gift of freedom, we do not understand what it means
to not enjoy those same liberties. We see today the desecration of our
freedom in the perpetuation of a war in its name that is fighting for
everything but freedom. We see it in the faces of those in other nations who
smile gleefully while holding a torch to our beloved flag. We see it today
in our own homeland, where untold hundreds track every phone call and e-mail
we make in our homes. The worst way we see it is when our own people are so
eager to give away their freedoms for the promise of a safety that cannot
possibly be achieved by others. In a sense, the greatest threat to freedom,
now and in the future, may be those who live in our own nation. Their
ignorance may be the cause of our own downfall.

This 4th of July, when you are enjoying the day off, barbecuing in your
backyard, and enjoying the food and drinks with family and friends, remember
those who came before us in their fight for true freedom. Remember those who
fight today to be free. And ask yourselves, "What is true freedom to me?"

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