In my writer’s group we were given an assignment. Write about freedom without tying it to patriotism. This is what I wrote.
Write about my freedom without tying it to patriotism? Freedom, aside from patriotism, is not very pragmatic. All of my freedoms, whether it’s the freedom to write, protest, or run around naked in my back yard, are due to the patriotism or devotion of someone.
To write about one while leaving out the other could be like making tomato sauce minus the tomatoes, or pizza without a beer to wash it down. You wouldn’t think of making a PB&J sandwich without either the P or the J. And, it could be considered a crime against everything we consider normal if we were to enjoy Oreo cookies without a tall glass of cold milk. It would be facetious to have one and not the other. This should never be the case when writing about freedom.
You can’t leave out the main ingredient if you want the desired outcome. If you don’t use tomatoes you will not make tomato sauce. Without patriotism (loyalty, devotion), we wouldn’t have freedom. It’s that clear.
I could write a list of all the freedoms I have besides the three I listed earlier. (By the way, I don’t do that in my back yard.) But if I wanted… never mind. When I stand to sing our anthem, it is with pride, compassion and heartfelt gratitude that I live in a country that gives me that freedom. A freedom that in no way is or was free. Men and woman have willingly died out of loyalty or devotion for the idea of what this country used to form its Declaration of Independence.
It’s a declaration of our individuality, our liberation and impartiality; not to mention fairness, objectivity and neutrality. An argument can be made that all those synonyms for freedom are not practiced. We have to remember that when those words were penned, we lived in a completely different world than what we live in today. Or perhaps we didn’t. Perhaps because of the freedom we have, people are feeling free to express their freedom in much bolder ways.
That’s the great attribute of freedom. When practiced, we should be joyous, thankful and respectful. Even if the freedom being practiced doesn’t match our characterization of freedom. Is that not the purpose of freedom? Is that not why lives were given and blood was shed?
With freedom there are consequences. I may have the freedom to run around in my yard naked, but if one of my neighbors were to be blinded by that, I doubt they would be yelling out their window, “You go boy.” With freedom comes responsibility. We need to act in ways that honor our freedom, while also being sensitive to how our freedom affects others.
I probably failed at this assignment because you cannot separate freedom from patriotism, in my opinion. The great thing is, I have freedom to have my own opinion. Anytime you would like to sit and talk to share your freedom on the issue, I would be glad to have you over. Just make sure you call first I may be running around in my backyard.