Hey All! This week’s Mash-up will focus mostly on Freedom and my thoughts/opinions of American Freedom. (Happy Independence Day for those Americans out there reading this!)
I’m really curious as to what Freedom means to other people. (And yes, I know I capitalized that word when it didn’t need to be; Freedom is a big deal to me and in my opinion deserves to be capitalized.) So what does Freedom mean to you? Is it based solely on your country’s political “Freedoms” as given to you by documents such as the American Bill of Rights? Is it religious in some way, such as the Pilgrims that first traveled to America to escape religious persecution? Or maybe it’s cultural?
Regardless, I know for a fact what Freedom means to me. The ability to have my own personal thoughts, the control over when to share those thoughts with others– that’s a huge part of it. Then there’s the aspect of being free to love whomever you choose, even though not everyone will agree with your choices. Actually, to sum it all up much faster and simpler, Freedom to me is the ability to choose. Just to choose. Nothing much else to add to that. As I just said, people are going to disagree with your choices- maybe not everyone, but someone. However, you can still make that choice regardless of what other people think, say, or do about it. Freedom. The ability to choose.
However, as I was originally stating, Freedom can be applied to millions of different categories: religion, culture, beliefs, living arrangements, family structures, etc. etc. I won’t even begin to list them all here, but I will say that there are so many that one million might actually be an accurate count.
The biggest thing for me about Freedom is trying to understand how people feel who don’t live in America. I mean, I’ve always lived here. I’ve never lived any other way… So what’s the difference? You can read stories, watch videos, etc. of all these horrible things that occur in different countries where rules and rights are totally different than the place in which I live. But is EVERY other country like that? I don’t think so…
I was curious to know more, so I actually Googled “Freedoms around the world” and came up with a pretty interesting website. Thank you Democracy Web, for actually having put all of this information together in one neat handy map. (Found here.) The map itself, before you even do any clicking or researching is pretty interesting. Basically, if you live on this side of the world, you’re free. Or… at least mostly free. The other side of the world though? Those citizens don’t seem to be so lucky.
You see Democracy Web did some surveying and researching; any country shown in green is a Free country. Those in yellow are mostly free (meaning they have some rights but not as many as those green peoples out there!) Then the red areas are… evil? I mean, maybe not the end of the world, but they don’t get rights unless someone says they do. (Seems like there are too many of those places to me… anyone else agree?)
Anyway, as you click on your favorite country, the one you’re most curious about, etc. a little box pops up full of information. For example, I chose Egypt. Population 80,400,000. Capital: Cairo. This country was a red one, so the people are deemed “not free” by the researchers of this project. In reference to political rights, they scored a 6. In regards to civil rights, a 5. A rating of 7 in both categories signifies the worst situation, so Egypt is pretty bad off right now. (To understand more about the rating process, click here.
It makes me sad to think that so many people do not get the Freedoms that I do. I mean, sometimes I’m concerned about stories that are put out about the American Government (do they really track our phones at random? What organizations do they run that we may not even know about?) but at least our overall lifestyle doesn’t seem to be too changed, even if any of these stories are true. So how does it feel to be in one of those red countries? Do they notice the differences every day? I bet it’s just their way of life at this point, but if they’ve ever been to one of the green countries, how much difference is there really?
And to point out another thought on Freedom: I feel like other people in our own neck of the woods are quickly helping us to lose Freedoms that we always had. Like that producer, the one who decided to make a mockery of a Korean official through the making of a motion picture? Does he really think that the Government is going to sit by and allow him to show the video so that Korea has a reason to go to war with America? I know we are supposed to have Freedom of Speech, but there needs to be a line. If people are so easily willing to forget about those lines, or trample all over them screaming, “Hey you! I have Freedom and I’m going to use it to put other people down, hurt them, murder them, etc.” then how can we expect the world to stay peaceful?
In America right now, there’s this huge debate about gun control. Meanwhile, in other countries, it’s quite possible that citizens are smart about their gun use. Like, if they don’t shoot each other, but use their guns for hunting purposes, maybe their government doesn’t have to sit around for hours and debate about their use of guns. I’m not taking sides on the issue one way or the other. I just really wish that something else would be shown on the news…
Freedom is complicated, isn’t it? I thought this would be a short post for my Holiday, but apparently not. I think I’m going to stop thinking about this now since I have a printer that is breaking on me and about 200 pages of work that I need to print… yesterday! So, again, have a good Holiday to all those who are celebrating something today. And don’t forget to let me know about your thoughts on Freedom in the comments below!