If you follow us on Twitter, you have seen that over the past few months, Freedom Cocktail has been spitting out quotes, old and recent, regarding the issue of Freedom. On this Fourth of July, we asked our contributors to reflect on their own. And in no particular order other than alphabetical order, here are the responses:
Freedom is a barbeque sandwich, a beer, and a trip to the beach. Freedom is a fireworks show, an Uncle Sam costume, and a baseball game. Freedom says it’s OK to church or to go fishing on a Sunday morning. Freedom is a Lee Greenwood song about being an American. Freedom is waving a flag at a parade and clapping for a group of soldiers at the airport. These things constitute the just the holiday version of freedom – a marketing pitch, a TV commercial. But…. REAL freedom means so much more than this shallow concept that we all too often celebrate on the Fourth of July.
Real Freedom is:
Unusual. The history of mankind is one of the powerful conquering and enslaving the weak. It is incredibly rare for the powerful to voluntarily cede their power to the masses.
Costly. Because it cuts against human nature, freedom most be constantly and forcibly won and defended. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken up arms in far-away places, – and never returned home – not to conquer and pillage, but in defense of the American idea of freedom.
Divine. The scriptural texts of most of the world’s religions speak of an escape from the oppression of a worldly existence, where the righteous are delivered from tyranny (both cultural and self-imposed) and become close to God. Free.
Work. As children, we needed the protection of loving parents. As teenagers, we began to develop the knowledge and skills to become more self-reliant and we get the first tastes of freedom. As young adults, we are finally granted freedom – and then realize that freedom isn’t just about doing what you want. As the parental veil of protection is lifted, the responsibility of self-sufficiency is revealed.
Squandered. So many Americans want to enjoy the benefits of freedom, without the duty of self-reliance. “I want to say what I want, go where I want, and do what I want – And somebody’d better pay for that – ‘cause I’M supposed to be free.” Those Americans only THINK that they are free. In fact, they are enslaved by their support mechanisms – never truly reaping the rewards of individual accomplishment.
Right. Even though the achievement of personal freedom is historically rare, it is the natural way for individuals to exist. The human spirit always calls out for freedom. Something deep within us – our soul, our nature, our sprit, our being – drives us to achieve our potential, free from dependence on others.
As we celebrate Independence Day – the celebration of a uniquely American ideal of personal liberty – let us not reduce the concept to a simple cursory nod. Freedom is hard, but great; rare, but natural; an individual endeavor, but a gift from God. Enjoy your freedom, but understand and treasure it as well.
- Freedom is the right to move up to one-hundred-eight-five pounds on the seated dip machine and do three sets of twenty.
- Freedom is choosing the comfort of a minivan for a family of six.
- Freedom is realizing we are not victims and can take active control of our own lives.
- Freedom costs a buck-o’-five.
- Freedom is being able to write, direct and act in your own movie, while recognizing your audience has the freedom to not watch it.
- Freedom is revealed in the knowledge that someone can have an opinion that is one-hundred-eighty-degrees opposite of your own and yet you will fight for their right to say it.
- Freedom is knowing we still have a Bill of Rights.
- Freedom IS the Bill of Rights.
- Freedom is grilling a steak while your vegetarian neighbor grills veggie-kabobs and you both smile and wave because to each their own.
- Freedom is watching your kids play in the park without worrying about a bullet or bomb.
- Freedom is being able to pull your honey close and kiss no matter where you are.
- Freedom is giving your children as many, if not more, opportunities as you had.
- Freedom is choosing to spend a three-day weekend watching the LOTR trilogy, back-to-back, with your baby –Director’s cut on Blu-Ray, of course.
- Freedom is deciding to switch parties when you realize how far they’ve moved from their core principles.
- Freedom is about being able to choose the doctor you want, not the other way around.
- Freedom is about being able to post your thoughts on freedom without fear that the NSA, FBI, White House, IRS or any other agency is going to pounce on you with their own special brand of thought police.
- Freedom IS America.
- Freedom is the right to provide for my own self-defense with whatever I feel comfortable with: A firearm or a book of spells.
- Freedom is the right to read a banned or censored book. I’m looking at you, Alice in Wonderland.
- Freedom is the right to blast Material Girl out my car speakers at the age of forty-three.
- Freedom is the right to go fishing instead of watching football.
- Freedom is the right to disregard religion or worship Zeus, Indra, Ishtar, Anu, Mithra, or Mothra.
- Freedom is the right to eat tasty animals instead of being a vegetarian.
- Freedom is the right to seek out employment in any field I wish, understanding I may not get hired because of several possible reasons.
- Freedom is the right to declare the Smiths the greatest band ever.
- Freedom is the right to burn the flag of your country, accepting that some may yell at you.
- Freedom is the right to consider Godzilla better than Gamera.
- Freedom is the right to injest anything I wish into my body, provided that along with the pleasures, I accept responsibility for the risks.
- Freedom is the right to declare Star Wars was just okay.
- Freedom is the right to think DC is better than Marvel.
- Freedom is the right to seek out an education in any field I wish understanding I can not force anyone or any institution to be my teacher.
- Freedom is the right to declare The Patriot a good movie, despite its lead being a numbskull.
- Freedom is the right for me to call Mel Gibson, “numbskull”.
- Freedom is the right to go to the voting booth and choose a representative.
- And Freedom is the right to speak freely on this blog without, short of making a direct threat, the government shutting it down.
That’s that. A few thoughts and definitions from Freedom Cocktail for you to consider. What are yours?
And remember to keep choosing freedom for yourselves, every day, not just today. That’s what the Fourth of July is supposed to be about, a remembrance about what you may have forgotten. So have a Freedom Cocktail with that BBQ. But drink it slow. Savor it. Consider how easy it can be spilled. Hold with both hands.