All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Freedom. Such a simple word, yet the picture it paints in our minds and hearts is great and deep. A small but cherished word. A word that an entire country was founded on. A word that symbolizes one of the most treasured concepts in the world.
When the pilgrims came to America, what did they come for? Freedom. When the Sons of Liberty threw tea into Boston Harbor, what were they demanding? Freedom. When the Africans on the Amistad were accused of murder after killing their inhumane captors, what did they fight for? Freedom.
It is a vital part of humanity, one of the most guarded and precious principles of mankind. Everyone wishes to have freedom. This country was created to preserve it in all its forms: freedom of religion, speech, expression, belief – freedom to live the way we wish. Yet, even as Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” our country’s first president owned slaves. Before the Civil War, the majority of the U.S. population were slaves. Is that equality?
If all men are equal, why should a person’s right to freedom depend on appearance? What does it matter whether one is black, white, pink, yellow, brown, or olive? Whether one is male or female, short or tall, old or young, fat or thin? We all have the same needs and wants. We all laugh, fight, and work. We all must eat. We all cry salty tears, and when we bleed, it’s always red.
When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought to end segregation, he was fighting for equality. And what is equality? The freedom to live as any human being should. And there we have that word again.
The Civil War was a bloody, tragic struggle to gain the freedom for slaves in the South. Why? Because they deserved the same rights as any human.
Yet as the years pass, we are losing our freedom. We are steadily relinquishing our hold on the most important things. During the Vietnam War, citizens watching their televisions witnessed the real-life horrors of war brought to them by journalists who risked their lives to give others the freedom to understand what was going on and form their own opinions. As a result, some used their freedom of speech and protest to fight the government, to support what they believed in, and to stand firm with those beliefs.
Now, we are once again at war. However, I believe the news stations are censoring the footage, violating our right to know the truth. Even the newspapers are criticized if they print the truth.
If an author writes something that a certain group is opposed to, they ban the work from libraries and bookstores and have public book burnings. Where is our freedom of speech? Our right to expression?
We remember Patrick Henry’s name for a reason. He made a speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1775, inciting the Virginian troops to fight the oppressive British. But the phrase we remember most from Henry’s speech is “Give me liberty, or give me death.” He was speaking treason against the mother country, and he could have been executed for it. Yet he said it because he believed that freedom was worth dying for. And people did fight, kill, and die for freedom. What would our founding fathers say if they could see us now? If they fought so hard for it, how can we allow our freedom to be stolen? Why do we not protect our rights? We’ve become sheep, mindlessly chewing the dry grass that fills the pasture where the shepherd has led us, completely oblivious to the pack of wolves closing in.
The problem is that we are allowing it. We allow our minds and souls to be filled with nothingness, with trivial, worthless things like designer products, celebrity worship, and fairy tales until our individuality dissipates. We are being swept up in a sea of rapid-fire materialism.
We are flooded with fashion and gadgets and money and trends. We no longer fight to be heard, to say “I am human and I am free!” We no longer care about freedom, as long as we can buy that BMW or that flat-screen television. So what if our votes don’t count? So what if there is still racial discrimination? So what if people are being slaughtered all over the world? So what if we don’t matter anymore? Freedom’s not important. Beliefs aren’t important. Who needs those things when there’s a big sale at Macy’s?
We must rein ourselves in from this race. We’re going nowhere fast. Why would anyone want to live in a dank, stinking cave when one could watch the sunrise from atop the mountain, breathing fresh air? Some things are not subject to our wishes, are inevitable, as they say about death and taxes. But what about the things that are in our control?
Almost all of society is letting its wings get clipped. However, there’s something I am absolutely sure of. When they lower me into the earth when I’m dead, I want the last thing I remember to have been the feel of the fresh air and warm sun – freedom on my wings as I soared over the mountains.