The United States of America was the world’s first (and possibly now its strongest) Democracy; the people who live in the US are freer than most, if not all, other countries. It’s great that I can wear a shirt that calls our president a clown or can write a blog in which I say almost anything, and chances are that nothing bad is going to happen to me. However, we are not completely free until we can do whatever we want, short of hurting other people. I get angry when I see things like the Protect America Act giving retroactive immunity to major corporations who broke laws that were originally put on the books for the exact circumstances that we are in now. I get almost violently angry when I hear Mukasey’s comments yesterday, basically calling torture illegal. I feel like screaming from the top of my apartment building when I watch the Democratic controlled Congress wag their fingers at Mukasey, but really do nothing meaningful about it. I get sick to my stomach when I think that hurricanes Katrina and Rita happened two and a half years ago, yet our fellow citizens are still roaming around homeless (or living in trailers that are giving them diseases) because our government is too busy killing other brown people halfway around the world in our name. I walk around all day with these thoughts floating around in my head and – although overall I am a very happy person – it makes me feel hopeless about the future of humankind. Then, every once in a while I’ll hear or see something that makes it all bubble to the top and bring me to the verge of an explosion; last night was one of those times. I was discussing the politics of Boulder, Colorado with a few friends last night; most of us were taking the side that – while still light years ahead of most cities, especially in the middle of the country – it is not as progressive a town as it appears from outside. One of our group said that Boulder is a great place because she can – as an openly gay business owner – make out with her girlfriend in the busiest section of town and no one harasses them. As soon as she said it, there was a twinge in my stomach, which I ignored and went on talking. It wasn’t until I got home that night that I began to think about it; I began to think that I never have to worry about anyone harassing me because I’m holding hands with my wife, I can go anywhere at anytime and kiss her without people reacting in a negative way. When we decided that we were in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, we got married; never thinking that some people in our great, free country do not even have that right. How can any of us call ourselves free, when there are people living among us who still have to worry about holding the hand of someone they love in public? How can we participate in a society that refuses to allow two people who are deeply in love and want to express it through marriage, the right to do so? We are a work in progress and it is important that we remember that; as long as people are getting put in cages because their skin is dark, as long as people are getting arrested with no charges because they worship a different god than the people in charge, and as long as one only gets to express their love freely if it is for someone of the opposite sex; as long as any of this is happening, none of us are free. We all have a duty as human beings to fight until total equality is achieved.

                Getting lower and middle class people to feel alienated from people in the same situation is the divide and conquer technique that the people in charge have been applying for a long time now. When a poor person, living in a trailer park, working for shit wages, can’t see that (s)he has more in common with a just-as-poor black person than with a white CEO, that is a problem. There are straight white males who are in the same boat as gay black men or lesbian Latinas, but are taught to see their outer differences. If, instead, people were able to see that they are all being treated like commodities, they are all be used as machines by the people telling them what to do, maybe something would be done about it. I’m having great trouble putting this into words right now, but my point is that if anything can be used to separate one human being from another, it should be the oppressor/oppressed relationship, as opposed to the skin color, religion, sexual orientation relationship. If you’re a poor white Christian male and you think that a rich white Christian male gives two shits about you, you are sorely mistaken and falling right into the trap they set for you.

                Another member of the Orange Democratic Party has been killed; this one by a police officer. Raila Odinga – head of the ODM – says that it was a political killing, the second one this week, in order for the ruling party of Mwai Kibaki to cut down on the majority that the ODM has. Kibaki says that it was a scorned lover who did the killing, as the body was found with a female police officer and that police officers boyfriend committed the murder. No matter why it happened, things are getting progressively worse since both sides have pretty much given up completely on nonviolence; almost 800 are dead and the number of people who have had to flea their homes is approaching 300,000. It is not too late, it is never too late, but people need to start talking; there will never be a conclusion if the fighting continues. These things don’t just work themselves out with machetes and guns.

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4 thoughts on “When We Will Truly Be Free?

  1. “The oppressor/oppressed relationship”–there is really a lot to that, to what you are saying. And I think it is really important, so thanks for bringing it up.

    The system in place depends on exploitation and oppression of humans and non-humans alike. And, like you said, this is what we need to focus on and work together against. These other differences are used to keep us apart and maintain the privilege and profit that comes with exploitation, instead of being recognized as the unique beauty that’s part of being a living a human being.

    That’s part of the reason I feel any social justice movement must be anti-capitalist to be truly effective. In a capitalist system, whenever any “group” of people fights off oppression and exploitation, the system always ensures that there is another group of people to fill that void, to make sure that profit and privilege continue at the expense of others.

    These “others” (and the “othering” is an important part of the process–to dehumanize and objectify makes it much easier to oppress and exploit) presently include (but definitely are not limited to) immigrants or even people living in other countries, other continents. “Free” trade has helped to create larger and larger numbers of “others” to be exploited for profit.

    Anyway, what I am saying is I really enjoyed the insight of your post.

  2. you are starting to speak (write) with great authority. your words brought me to tears today. thank you. there are so many things we don’t think about if they are not directly affecting us. that goes across the board. and it’s really sad.

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