What Freedom Means to Me

January 15, 2008
By Sean O'Connor, Colorado Springs, CO

Freedom, in essence, is truly a magical birthright in the United States. It basically makes up the entire framework of our country. Without freedom, the United States of America would not be that at all. Without freedom, the South would have been triumphant and we would be known as the Confederate States of America; slavery tactics would still be executed throughout the country, and people would not have any of the rights that they have today, such as freedom of speech, right to assemble, etc. America would not be the bastion of rights that it is today. However, freedom can also mean different things to different people. My opinion on the true meaning of freedom can be expressed in many ways. I believe that true freedom gives people certain rights such as freedom to speak their minds without fear of being judged, freedom to pursue their dreams, freedom to speak out for their rights, and freedom from the status quo.
My first idea of true freedom is the right for people to speak their minds without being judged and to speak out for their own rights. Many people these days hold back their true opinions on certain matters because they’re afraid of being judged, or of being laughed at. I believe that people should always have the right to be opinionated no matter how odd their beliefs are and should always speak out for their own rights. If they were always afraid of always being judged, then Americans would not have compassed the privileges that they are blessed with today. Those courageous Americans who spoke out to make a better life for us shall always be remembered as powerful, virtuous characters in American history. They set a standard to which many in the country are constantly trying to match. We all need to respect others’ views on matters, no matter how irksome they seem.
Although freedom of speech is an important view on freedom, I also believe that people should have the right to pursue their own dreams. People should have the right to be what they want to be, no matter what others think. Sometimes people are pressured by friends or by family to go into a certain field. For example, say that a young man or woman, going into, or coming out of college wishes to be a doctor, yet the last three generations of their family have all been lawyers. That man or woman should not have to feel pressured into going into the field of law. They should pursue their own dreams. They should do what makes them happy, what will benefit them for the rest of their lives, and what will get them up every morning. The same should hold true for every citizen in the U.S. no matter what their ancestry shows.
Finally, I believe that people deserve freedom from the status quo. People today are constantly judged and socialized by others. Whether it be their outfit, or their tone of voice, or their overall appearance, Americans judge a single person within 30 seconds of meeting them. Because of this constant discrimination, some people begin to change everything about themselves, just to fit in with a certain clique. That is absolutely ridiculous. People should be able to be themselves, and not worry about what others think. People should also be able to communicate with others of a “higher social status” no matter how rich, or stylish, or likeable they are. Nobody should be excluded. People today rely on their own social status more than is healthy to. Our society is no longer dominated by social classes. Everyone is assured an equal status. It does not whatsoever fall into the category of freedom.
In closing, I have, above, expressed my views on freedom in great detail. I believe that everybody has a right to their own freedoms, not matter what anybody says. We all need to remember that freedom is the basis of our country. It is what makes America, America. It is not only a privilege, it is a right, and we all need to realize that sooner, rather than later. For if we forget what our noble country was intended for, we have forgotten what it intended for us, the people: liberty, justice, and the overall acceptance of every member of the world’s greatest community.

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