We were born of rebellion.
We the people of these United States have a greater capacity to vocalize discontent to those holding power than just about anywhere else on earth. The responsiblity of our freedom, however, extends beyond the ability to use our voice in opposition of disenfranchisement. Subjugation requires only one single moment when you, a free and prosperous citizen, abstains your voice in the face of tyranny.
If it is true that all that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing than it is also true that all that despotism needs to flourish is the silence of free men in the presence of draconian authority.
You speak of freedom but what have you done today to preserve its existence?
Today I awoke to the news that hundreds of high school students in Colorado walked out of their classrooms in peaceful protest of the district’s proposal to change current history lessons to a more truncated version. Society may label this group as children, I call them patriots. There is no age limit on when it is appropriate to stand up for what is right.
There is no social or economic group that holds a monopoly on virtue. If something is unjust, our voice is the only thing that will eradicate it. By not exercising our rights, they are sure to atrophy. Capitulation does not require that we bow in the face of oppression, just that we remain silent in its presence.
Every day for months, I have watched an organization whose purpose is to bring to light the increase of police brutality gain momentum. They simply post videos of law enforcement officers abusing their power and have, in turn, gained a sizeable following. A conscious effort is being made to squelch these movements despite their utilization of nothing more than peaceful protest to speak out against oppression.
Why is this movement gaining popularity now? Is it because peace officers in this country have killed more U.S. citizens since September 11th, 2001 than the war in Iraq has? Is it because citizens are finally seeing the effects of having their rights slowly and methodically melt away, one drop at a time, like a great glacier turned river? Perhaps the social unity and sharing of experience provided by the internet may prove to be the people’s greatest ally in remaining free.
While I feel that they are incredibly misguided, I have to defend the right of the people who chose to desecrate the American flag in Arizona this week. It would be hypocritical of me not to. Despite my desire to bring physical harm to each of them, I have to applaud their willingness to oppose the majority.
Some people, my friends included, have uttered sentiments of, “Well if you don’t love this country then you can get out.” My thought is that the citizen that speaks out against their government is the one who loves this country most. Perhaps they understand that the vernacular of vitriol is the only one we seem to comprehend these days.
Never make the mistake of underestimating the power of your own voice. Do not think for one moment, that just because someone is sitting in a position of authority that they are smarter or better capable of applying morality and intellect to a situation than you are. Increasing a person’s power rarely has a subsequent positive shift in their altruism. Your right to speak out against inequity exists only for as long as you are prepared to use it. Your claim to being a free and independent citizen survives on the stipulation that you are willing to defend it.
Those high school students are at this moment preserving their future as the masters of their own future by peacefully objecting to an infringement on not just theirs, but the education of future generations. It is not necessary to wait until the next election to create a lasting positive change. In fact, I would argue that has become one of the less effective ways of maintaining the inherent and inalienable right to which you were born with.
The fires of freedom were built in our nation by a group of patriots not afraid to use their voice. It is the responsibility of every citizen warming themselves daily by that fire to stoke its flame; to agitate and make fresh the coals of its existence.
© 2014 The Havok Journal