Is this what we mean by freedom.?
(image by Paulo r Careka)
It is the most misused, most misunderstood word in the American lexicon--"freedom."
But, what is it? Who has it?
Example: Just as the U.S and South Korea are about the embark on provocative military "exercises" on the divided Korean peninsula, our UN puppets declare the head of North Korea a "war criminal" on the same scale as a "Nazi" war criminal. And, this comes as the young leader was making some effort to lessen tensions in that war-ravaged land.
But, of course, our corporate-NSA media tell us that Kim is "crazy," "unhinged."
Here's the problem: Our media pigeons would never use words like "crazy" or "unhinged" to describe George W. Bush or John McCain.
George W. Bush declared war on Iraq on the basis of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction"--which never existed! Result: one million dead Iraqis and millions more displaced.
Senator McCain was a terrorist who dropped bombs on Vietnamese nationalists who opposed the tyrannical governments the French and American empires had imposed on their nation.
Question: Is a terrorist who drops bombs from jets less of a terrorist than one who straps grenades to himself/herself and blows up self and others? Both kill and maim and torture with pain and agony that can last beyond lifetimes. But, our sick media declares one a "hero" fighting for our side's "freedom," and the other a dirty communist/terrorist/coward.
Americans have an incredibly poor sense of history. We do not study it, we do not debate it. Perhaps it has something to do with our media-induced short attention spans. As soon as something bores or provokes or probes too deeply--change the channel!
We like to say, "move on!" (the unfortunate name of a good progressive organization!). If a relationship becomes difficult--move on! If one can't really grasp the official narrative line on 9/11--how the towers fell into their footprints, how 19 hijackers from Saudi Arabia eluded the best defensive air-force in the world", well, let it go--move on!
We stop the "freedom" to inquire whenever such freedom probes too deeply into the real power structures of Empire. In a decision like "Citizens United," our less-than Supreme Court declares that money is equivalent to "freedom" of speech. (Which recently led a billionaire to declare that since he pays millions of dollars in taxes, he should be entitled to millions of votes!)
Example: Interminably, whenever I happen to be channel-surfing the malarkey network news, I hear coiffed Scott Pelley talk about that "dictator" Assad of Syria. Then, a recitation of the atrocities committed by the Assad regime. Somehow these shows always neglect to mention the recorded cannibalism of one of our "freedom-fighters" gobbling up the heart of a Syrian soldier. Nor is there ever contextualization. We have heard forever about Israel's need for nuclear weapons because it lives in such "a dangerous neighborhood" but what about the Arab and Muslim countries who have lived in a region of the world ransacked by Western powers and by Johnny-come-lately Israel for centuries?
What is freedom when we have no right to question and to challenge the official party line?
Freedom has always been a double-edged sword. It is hedged in by responsibilities--to Truth, to Justice, to Morality. Freedom without wisdom is a tree without roots. And wisdom is nourished by inquiry, dialogue, and dialectic.
Growing up half Sicilian-Catholic and half Ukrainian-Jew in a secular home, as a child, teen and twenty-something, I sought the wisdom of the great books of the East and West. I did not think of Jesus as my personal savior, nor as the son of God, but I did think he was a great teacher who asked: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye but don't notice the log in your own eye?" It seemed that one of Christ's most uttered words of execration was "hypocrite!" Hypocrites would sit in the front of the temple and shout hosannas--just to be seen and heard. But, Christ said, when giving to the needy, "Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
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