“The human ego is the ugliest part of man. We lift up men who only show us darkness, and put down those brave enough to show us the light…We abandon those fighting for us to cheer behind those fighting against us. And, we only remember good people and God when it is convenient for us, and take them for granted because their doors are always open – only to chase after closed doors and personalities void of substance and truth.” ~ Suzy Kassem
“It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.” ~Author unknown
“We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.” ~Felix Frankfurter
“Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.” ~D.H. Lawrence
I had a difficult time deciding on a quote for today. Each one of them speaks volumes.
There are a handful of countries that enjoy the same or similar freedoms as we do in America. Freedoms like speech, religion, press, opportunity, and assembly to name a couple. You have the freedom to be or do whatever you want in life. Want to be an athlete, a police officer, a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an actor, a mechanic, a factory worker, a construction worker or a road/highway worker? You can. You can even be a bum and live off the system if you want to. You want to protest, go to the movies, eat whatever you want, post or comment whatever you want to on social media? You can do that too.
Do you see a pattern here? In this country you can be or do anything you want whenever you want. However, it seems to me that with all this freedom, we take much of it for granted. We forgot what it took to create this country.
To get a better appreciation of our freedoms, I put together a list of some countries that show a few examples of racism, prejudice and oppression in the world today;
You may have heard or read about the recent protests in Iran. These protests are against the government and the economy their leaders created. Did you know that it is illegal to protest in that country? Those who do dare to speak out and protest against the government have done so under threats of death or persecution. In response to the recent protests, the government tried to shut down social media sites and anything that had to do with negative views of the government. Iran is not the only country that suppresses freedom of speech or assembly. Similarly, Venezuela citizens are protesting their government. Other countries include North Korea, Burma, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Cuba, Uzbekistan, and Syria.
Many Middle Eastern countries also oppress women. They are not allowed to drive cars, initiate a divorce or go to certain places. They are forced to obey dress codes and are considered second class citizens. Other countries have laws regarding women too. In China there’s a law limiting families to one child and female babies are sometimes killed. In some countries “female circumcision”(the removal of certain female parts) is a common practice so that women cannot enjoy pleasure from sexual activity.
Christian minorities are frequently intimidated, murdered and suffer from discriminatory practices or badly invoked blasphemy laws. Churches can be burnt to the ground with little official protection or justice. In other places new churches cannot be built and the penalty for becoming Christian is punishable by death.
August small, secluded country, called Burma, has a small Muslim minority who live in the northern state of Rakhine. These Muslims, known as the Rohingya, have been dubbed, “the most oppressed people in the world.” In 1982, the government enacted a citizenship law which removed the Rohingya from a list of minorities which are recognized as citizens of the country. This left the Rohingya being illegal immigrants – in their own country.
The Rohingya also live under threat of extortion and bribery from local government officials, especially when the Rohingya try to attain marriage and child licenses. Yes, they have to have a license to be able to have children. It is difficult for these people to obtain a permit to have a child which is required by law. The current law punishes women bearing “illegal children” with fines or imprisonment. Also, cohabitation without an official marriage license is punishable by imprisonment. Over 500 men currently sit in prison for this type of violation.
Yes, we truly do live in the land of the free and home of opportunity. It’s is also home of the brave – the brave few who sign up and go to war with the countries that threaten our way of life. The brave men and women who sacrifice their lives and their families so that we can do, be or say whatever we want, whenever we want. We also help other countries similar to ours preserve their way of life.
As citizens there’s not a whole lot we can do for these countries besides showing support for those citizens that want freedom. We can, however, learn from these countries. We can learn what not to do. We can have a new appreciation for the freedoms we have in America. We can also have an appreciation for what it took to make this the greatest country to live in. We can show appreciation for all of the blood, sweat and tears that it took so we can live free.
Have we had a perfect history? Of course not. One thing I think we can all agree on tho is that we’ve come a long way from the days of persecuting Native Americans, African American slavery and many other dark times in our country’s history. “We aren’t where we want to be, aren’t where we ought to be; but thank goodness we aren’t where we used to be.” ~ Lou Holtz
Thought for the day: If I could make one request today. While you’re out and about, if you see someone from the military, thank them for their service and their sacrifice. Otherwise, as you enjoy the days festivities, take a moment and reflect on what it took for you to enjoy the life you live today in the greatest country
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