Yesterday was July 4th, the American National day of Independence.This got me thinking about the quintessential American values, the most prevalent being Freedom. Can a person be free and feel free while at the same time being around others who express their Freedom in a conflicting way? What happened to live and let live?
In the past twenty years or so a feeling of self-entitlement has developed in our society. An expectation of personal comfort that appeared to come of age with the notion of political correctness that has created a strange dichotomy. There are people who have a strong belief that they should never be offended or made uncomfortable in any way. There is a sense with them that their personal Freedom is being infringed upon or threatened by those around them who are not making the same personal life choices as they are about very personal life options.
These choices run the gambit from religion and social choices defined by personal beliefs such as whom to date, what to eat, what to wear, who should have children and how many and a lot of other very personal life shaping private decisions. A person’s life experience is shaped by these very important decisions some which do have an overflow of sorts within their community and society as a whole to varying degrees.
Can we feel free and allow the person next to us to express their diverse expression of freedom at the same time? This becomes more controversial when these choices are in direct contradiction to one another. How does a person live within their fundamental ideals while staying out of another individual’s way who lives in a contradicting fashion with the same passion we wish to live our lives with unrestricted Freedom? Is this possible?
It is my belief that it used to be easier because the world cultures once were so isolated from one another and that people who lived near one another tended to be related in some way by mutual family, culture or background. Today however with more transportation choices and exposure through the internet of many life options people are more aware of other people’s business quite frankly.
Add to that the political power struggles and main stream media which pick up on stories that stir the pot of these passionate topics of discussion and we have what seems to be a very hostile social environment. If we are to move into a more peaceful future for our children to grow and thrive in we as a global community will have to find answers to the questions presented. Can we be aware of one another and our life choices and be able to share space, share this planet together in peace? Can we live and let live?
I love my Freedom. Being more creatively inclined I feel my Freedom is vital to my happiness and frankly my existence. I don’t fare well in oppressive circumstances. I don’t want to make personal choices for other people, and as long as they are not harming another individual and are not imposing their beliefs on me I feel passionately that I must stand up for the right of others to be Free as much as I would hope someone else would stand up to help defend my sovereign freedoms. It is hard to watch people live in a way that I don’t agree with. However, if I can’t find some way to come to terms with being ok with how my neighbor lives and if others do not come to their own conclusions about how they can be themselves at the same time living in some semblance of harmony with their neighbors, what chance does the world have of ever living in a state of peace?