What Exactly Is Freedom?
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What exactly is freedom? The Oxford English Dictionary defines freedom as “The state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint, liberty of action”. I believe this is a great example of Antonio Gramscis idea of “common sense” in America. Take Americas National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”, a song that is sung at the beginning of every Major League Baseball game, a sport that is “as American as apple pie” – we are praised as being “the land of the free”. Great political campaigns have been won based on the principal of freedom, many wars are fought in the name of freedom – we are overwhelmed in the media with the idea that America represents freedom. We are bombarded by stories of how immigrants flee countries where they are not free in search of the “freedom” America holds.
If you ask an American what is the best thing about being an American, most will answer – freedom. If you ask an immigrant why they came to America, most will answer, for the freedom. This is supposedly the freedom to say and do as you please. But I question this concept of freedom that is held by the masses. To me, freedom has one very important obstacle, laws. I believe that laws are a catch 22. Why? Because they are “perceived” as being passed by a very basic and important aspect of freedom, the right to vote. They are passed to “protect” people. I ask, from who? (Please note, the right to vote, another freedom which, up until recently in our relatively short history, women and blacks did not have the right to do) Laws are meant to control certain aspects of our life; they put limits on our freedom. Many laws do not even require the vote of the people. Some laws are passed by the elite few, with or without the consent of the vast majority of the American population.
One recent example of how freedom can be profoundly affected without the vote or consent of the people is the Presidential power to issue an executive order. George W. Bush recently issued an executive order authorizing the United States military tribunal to be able to conduct trials of non-citizens who commit or plan acts of terrorism against the United States. This, in a country to where flocks of people come to live the American dream, to be afforded the freedom that is so often taken for granted by “natural born citizens” This order was issued quickly and quietly, it was issued in the name of freedom. Dont the American people see what is happening? No. The fact that America is the land of the free is such “common sense” that Americans dont even realize or question the fact that are freedom is slowly