Updated: May 8
For the most of my life – I have refrained from confrontation – to allude to the idea that everything was fine. This condition was the restraint that goodness holds on us to a still death. It’s safe but not one that is free.
Throughout the past few years, I have been afraid to speak about what freedom meant to me. And for so long, I did so in the belief that to honestly say of freedom would bring certain destruction to the world around me. And so, it must not be true freedom after all.
But this trick has been a problem for centuries. As I sit here now, I realize one thing, this frightful condition is one I can sit with for no longer. To be a good human is not to be a whole one, and only being partial is not to live.
We need to find better ways to allow for our whole selves to show up; otherwise, we stand at the foot of our graves.
Freedom comes not in the self-edification of moral self-righteousness – no – it comes from the truth of the arts and literature. It comes from our vulnerable stories. It comes from a daring assessment that holds no loyalties except to call out to what extent our humanity has been destroyed.
And for you, those of you who read, I am here to say that for too long, we have stood in salute against our true nature. In standing tall to the fortitude of near tyranny that has played on our need to be good, and we have forgone the language of our hearts.
This has shown as pure discontent of the citizenship and the lack of direction of our leadership. And this falls not only on the national level but in the level of our communities and homes. For, we see the limits of this cruel logic of goodness.
We stand, arms drawn and bayonets to each other’s throat in the name of our political and social identities. And for what?
The freedom we have, and one we threaten to forgo, is that of true democracy and the voice it can give us.
When the founding fathers wrote the words that had freed the American colonies, it wasn’t in the air of remaining cemented in the era, nor was the age supposed to be forgotten. And I must ask you, would a good man have been able to declare their freedom? I think not!
These men were not good, nor were they bad. They were human! Full-humans wanting to live!
Yes, history is imperfect, but we mustn’t tear it down because of their unawareness of the grander scheme of the human legacy.
And yes, the bedrock of our nation lies in those original words, but to hold them verbatim and say everything is fine will only suffocate us. Perhaps leading to another revolution of untold misfortune.
What we have here in this nation is the chance to truly stand to the American ideal and to form a more perfect union. But what do we do? We move in strict contrast to that very promise.
We don’t use our understanding to build bridges with our opposition. No, we have spent that energy to dismantle all ties – destruction of common ground.
Here in this nation, we stand at the precipice of great opportunity. As the forces of technology look to multiply the direction we choose, we have the chance to vastly tighten or loosen our connection to our shared humanity.
And so we have the chance to strive for a world that not only allows for the inclusion of new diversity but to honor the slower pace as well.
We need to see freedom of speech through multiple lenses:
1. To allow the new liberal ideas to flourish.
2. To preserve conservative voices that may seem archaic to us, unless they too want to change.
The estranged whispers of our opposition should not be muddled by our victory call. It’s the quietness that should be a beckoning alarm.
And in its distance, we should not realize the near victory of our beliefs. Because what we will not realize is that we will need more, the defeat of something so much more – the quiet call of humanity that connects us all.