Friday, May 4, 2007

What is Free in America?

My grandfather once asked, "America: Land of the Free? What's free in America?" While my passion for this country dwindles each day I try to remember that it isn't as bad as it obviously is elsewhere. In fact, whenever I voice my distaste for America the Pride and Glory's tell me I'm an idiot. Apparently, there is no greater place on Earth than the United States of America.

In reality, this country is in the middle of most charts that include key concerns such as health, welfare, and education. The only statistics we really top are waste and pollution -- that is why most of the globe actually view us as greedy, capitalistic pigs. Imagine all of our grandparents mending their own clothes, or their parents actually making them from cloth! Now picture our parents buying our clothes at the department store. Our generation currently buys two to three times more clothing than them.

So we are greedy and wasteful. That's Capitalism. But that's also the reason why we all get to live our cozy iPod lifestyles, buying middle classed houses which cost a quarter million on the low end -- half million in the middle. But consider that a shell that paints a separate reality from what exists in the core. Our inner cities are war torn countrysides. Don't consider it to be a race issue: it's a class struggle -- something else we painted as a problem "somewhere else."

Few of these realities actually pierce the Power Ranger veil we place around ourselves and our children. In response to the governor of Ohio putting an end to school vouchers which give state money to send students to private schools, one woman got on the radio crying her heart out. She called for the governor to look her little girl in the eyes and tell her she had to go back to all the guns and violence in the public school system. Her greatest desire was to have her little girl get a privately funded education.

This woman is obviously aware of the war in our country, but she missed the fact that these class struggles exist because of our lack of social welfare. Most of us are aware that the rich are getting richer but we believe this is happening evenly across the board. We call it inflation. We also call corporations people. That means your middle class, fifty thousand paycheck somehow compares to the billions corporations earn each year. Millions in the country live under the poverty line. I'm sure they want to know: "What is free in the Land of the Free."

If we are to believe that our voices are free then we've missed the riots in L.A. where millions of Latinos were shot at by the local authorities. Those thirteen million illegal aliens have come here looking for the milk and honey and instead found themselves being rounded up in concentration camps as possible threats to our National Security. Our conversations are recorded, our actions monitored by satellite technology, and our rights to eat and live sold to the corporations. What is Free in the Land of the Free? Why do so many want to live desperately in a place which sickens me?

I believe it has something to do with the image we're selling on television. When you look at the world through the eyes of American media you'd see Russia as a cold, desolate wasteland; South America as a hot bed for blood-thirsty revolutionaries; Canada as a bunch of moose-huggers; Europe as the Dark Ages; Asia as a gigantic sweat shop; and of course the Middle East. That goes without saying. Apparently the only civilization worthy of First World status is the U.S.A. Everybody else is obviously second class citizens.

And yet, the more I see of the Green Revolution taking place in Europe, the more I wonder why we would allow all the solar energy technology to be shipped over seas instead of over-hauling the corporate grip on our basic necessities -- food, energy, transportation. Realize that we're developing nanotechnology in this country which can be painted on our rooftops and siding. This means that your entire house can generate enough electricity to power your cars and appliances, and have enough left over to SELL BACK to the electric country at the end of the day!

Nothing is Free! We don't even own our property -- the BANKS do! While I do have issues with calling us Wage Slaves (being that it lessens the experience of actual SLAVES) I know that I cannot live without a job. Furthermore, I cannot live WELL without a corporate job. This country is a rich tapestry of farms woven together and yet we have few choices other than factory food and livestock? And yet after decades we are still blind to these truths because of the reality they're selling us on television!

So if nothing is Free in America, I want a revolution before things get any worse. I tell myself that the buildings aren't on fire without realizing that they're rotting from the inside instead. I see the progress on the fringes and know it to be a lie. I want the truth. I want the truth to be heard. I want what our forefathers promised: I want freedom. I want what they're selling to Iraq: I want Democracy. And I'm not alone. This is what America wants -- what America believes in.

If we're fighting for it in other countries, shouldn't we be brave enough to fight for it at home?

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