The Meaning of Freedom

What is Freedom? Freedom is being able to make your own choices. One who has freedom has the ability to do what he or she pleases without being stopped or hindered by a separate power. However, freedom will always be relative to the environment or situation in which you inhabit. Most Americans just think they have freedom. The attribute has been strongly sought by Americans throughout the history of this land. We are the decedents of people who fought the Revolutionary War to become free from England. We are proud of this victory, and we celebrate our freedom from England on the Fourth of July. We fail to remember that this country seized Africans of their freedom to build this “newly freed” country. Our Founding Fathers believed that the word “freedom” held great value, associated strongly with liberty, progress, and rationality. How could they believe this and allow slavery at the same time? The answer is simple: Freedom is a state of personal being, with apathy to the same feeling for others around you.The United States is considered to be one of the freest places in the world. Our Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees all citizens freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to protest. Then again, citizens have the right to act defensively on the things individuals decide to say or do. Individuals have the right to speak their mind– even if other people don’t want to hear it– without anyone stopping them, but they must also muddle through the consequences of their actions. Consider former shock jock Don Imus’ racially and sexually sensitive comments about the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team. He can comment, however inappropriately, on whomever he chooses, as he is guaranteed. He was not arrested for his crude statements, because it is not illegal to speak your mind. But the outcry against his words was so compelling; CBS felt that their company would seem more compassionate for the female and Black plights if it freed itself from this offensive form of entertainment. If not for that, it was a business assessment. CBS was losing advertisements.

Does freedom come without punishment? Obviously not. Freedom does not guarantee that. There are laws in place that question the existence of real freedom. Drugs like marijuana, heroin, and PCP are illegal, and the use of these drugs can result in a long jail sentence. A person may not kill another person, or have sex with a person that does not permit them to. Freedom has to be balanced with order. When one person’s freedom hinders another person’s freedom, there will certainly be consequences. Examples of this hindrance would be murder and rape, for which a penal sentence would later result.

In conclusion, freedom is a feeling that all people are entitled to feel, regardless of where they live. All Americans are free, and I am glad that people are able to question their freedom, which is an example of freedom in itself. Malcolm X said: “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.” To question it is to defend it, to show our government that we will not accept anything less than a country where its citizens have a voice.

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