A byproduct of freedom
By JEFF LUND
November 16, 2015
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Now that the lights get shut off on my days well before bedtime, I was thinking about how much pre-sunset freedom I had just weeks ago. But now, unless I want to hike or fish in the dark, I have to find other productive ways to fill the hours. I went online and waded through the political and social scenes on a couple newspaper and magazine websites starting with the Wall Street Journal and ending up at a piece in The Atlantic about saving schools by killing sports. I guess that doesn’t sound like a long journey because Wall Street is in New York which is on the Atlantic Ocean, but that’s not the point.
Anyway, the journey was dark and it confirmed what I already knew about aspects of our American life.
A byproduct of freedom, is freedom. It’s the freedom for individuals to value sports more than school. It’s the freedom to peak in high school or not even finish it with a diploma. It’s the freedom to find loopholes, because government can’t regulate morality, and to establish or adopt anything that too closely resembles religious doctrine, is to infringe on our right to not have religion thrust upon us.
We have the freedom to be offended and use that as a trump card for any off-handed remark or display we don’t like. We have the freedom to make people who tell offensive jokes millionaires.
We have the freedom to take the inherent risk that comes with playing football, basketball, volleyball, cheerleading or hiking mountains looking for dinner.
We have the freedom to say things and not back them up – to say we stand for things, but falter when given the chance to prove it.
We have the freedom to be manipulated by people, politicians, agencies, salespeople, stats and studies by being too apathetic or indifferent to ask questions or question our world-views. We have the freedom to be on the right side of history, even if we have no idea what that means.
We have the freedom to know that the Photoshopping of beautiful people leads to insecurities by glamorizing the unattainable, yet create a market for such nonsense by buying the magazines or watching the shows.
We have the freedom to be honestly and naturally beautiful and honestly not care what society deems cover-worthy. We have the freedom to lie to ourselves and justify our flaws rather than attempt to live better and address them.
We have the freedom to attack baskets more than we attack books then talk about where the US stands in the Fantasy Education Standings.
But we can’t be Finland. We aren’t Sweden. Our cultural make up, economy, social norms, geography and demographics are different. It is within that diversity that we have our identity, as paradoxical as it sometimes is.
We have the freedom to contemplate all this, stare out a window into a dark November evening, take a breath, then go tie flies because this weekend I have the freedom to fish for steelhead or hunt deer.
Isn’t freedom great?
Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska