What Freedom Means

Freedom will never mean the right to take freedom away from others. That really is the only restriction. Though it really isn’t a restriction. So much as it is a crucial ingredient that being free can not be achieved without. In a free society, what can be rightfully disallowed, except for all those actions that prevent the freedoms of other society members. Free speech is one thing, but if the intent is to diminish or even exclude the voice of another, it is in fact diminishing the free speech of the speaker. You can target, toss, aim your intentions at harming one particular grouping of citizens, but there is no argument that your impositions should not boomerang back around and harm your own freedoms as well. There isn’t. You want to pay your way stealing from your neighbors, what is your argument that anyone in the world shouldn’t steal from you? No matter the words you use, it doesn’t exist. Murder. Violence. These are self nullifying actions. Even if there were no justice system, no state of incarceration, no intention of governmental vengeance. Do we think our communities would allow one member to, at whim, end the life of another member? The Justice system was not invented to create justice. But fear. Consequence. And revenge.

We don’t need a justice system, any more than any one of us needs another head attached to our own body. For the human being in and of itself is a system of justice.

We need to educate all people that restricting the rights and freedoms of any person, regardless of race, gender, identity, any other qualifier that does not actually negate or even diminish someone’s humanity, or rights of citizenship, is an act of war. Acts of war do not always take place within the context war. Often, they come before. And this discrimination is a war act, even if one hundred years happen between the action and the full fallout. It is possible to be prejudiced, but still respect the object of your prejudice’s autonomy. In fact, this respect will affect you quite fruitfully. For you see, that is the one saving grace of capitalism. Of any economy. Or ecosystem. We can argue all day the reasons you do not like rattlesnakes, but any adventurer worth their salt knows there would be seriously detrimental consequences for all of us if we restricted, or removed them entirely from an environment.

My point is not to teach the dull and redundant wrongness of thinking people who are different from you are bad, or not worthy of the same rights as you. I am arguing that diminishing the rights of people you don’t like hurts the economy, and has all kinds of negative effects even for the practitioners of hate. Of racism. And judgement. Dressed up justice.

Racism is detrimental to the racist and the race. It really is, for lack of a better word in any regard, a stupid ethos. I wonder why southerners were nervous, hesitant to trust, and insulatory, leading up to the Civil War. Could it be because their economy was built on the backs of human beings who had every right and justification for absolutely hating the humans they were working, cooking, making beds, laboring for in every form imaginable. Slavery was stupid. It made slave owners finicky, quick to violent reaction, and prone to isolationism, which led, in relatively short order, to the most costly war that has ever taken place on American soil.

Denying the rights of same sex couples, legitimizing slander and distrust against transgender people, decrying immigrants as criminals, dismissing women as too emotional or incapable of political leadership. Denying anyone rights of participation in the system that organizes their access to the basic necessities of survival and sustained life. Is dumb.

The conversations we have around these groups of people have changed over the past few decades, but not because we’ve grown enlightened, or more open minded, or softened. But because inclusive policies, attitudes and systems, lead to more commerce, stronger, diversified economies, and a higher educated, more affluent and experienced population.

Unarguably.
We are better people.
When we are better to people.

This idea that freedom is something our governments grant for us, let’s just say, history tells a different story. Justice is not found in finally providing full rights to everyone who once had them denied. It is found in asking who has benefited from lying that this expensive system could ever equal out and make freedom accessible for all of us. Studying what the reality of justice and being free has meant for them, and measuring it against the people who have the very least amount of social, fiscal and opportunistic freedoms. What do those people who benefited have in common, and what about the people who haven’t.

Asking the humans who built the system this way to change it is ludicrous. Asinine. If any politician came out publicly and said rattlesnakes aren’t all bad, and also deserve a right to live in the woods, would risk their bid for reelection, simply based on the lack of popularity of rattlesnakes. Representation in place of authentic democracy, is a stupid, biased, and verifiably unsuccessful method. People who hate snakes will be overrun by rats. People who think the color of their skin nullifies their sins are in for a rude awakening on that inevitable day when they are no longer in any way awake.

Do we want to build a functional society that provides freedom for all people in it?

If we do, it is actually much easier than what we are already trying.

Freedom. Free access to the resources required to sustain life. Free. Absent of cost, required payment, or taxation.

They are very simple and inexpensive, words like justice and freedom. The systems that truly protect them will be simple too. And if they aren’t, that is not on accident. It never is.
But fear is a powerful drug.

If I had never been in the woods, I too might believe it was full of snakes.
If I had never been to the city, I might not understand why it is full with rats.

Freedom has nothing to do with good and bad.

It is easier than that.

Freedom is a reference to cost.
And right now, sustaining human life, costs a lot.
It is an industry.
It will never make us for free.

Government is not a good source for finding justice.
Because if it ever really attempted true justice,
the government would be indicted long before the rest of us.

Better Business

Freedom is the simple recognition that your neighbor will inevitably have to be offered all the same rights as you.

You only sacrifice a freedom, if say, it’s for something that negates the freedom of another individual.

The simple answer is, if you would hate to have something done to you, you are called to sacrifice doing it to others.

Straight, white, “normal” people want the right to gender identify, they just don’t get challenged on it as much. But we do, and we take it for granted. You don’t have to respect your neighbor’s identification. No one can make you. But your neighbor, whomever he or she or however they identify is, probably works, and probably has money, and probably has network connections.

You respect how they identify, you call them how they prefer to be called, because selfishly, greedily, connivingly, they are valuable. And people who get along with more people are going to be better at business. End of story.
They’re going to get more out of life.

Say you hate someone over their skin color when it’s really your own lack of self esteem. But eventually, they’re going to receive every right you have been offered. Including the justified right to hate you right back.

Prejudice, racism, sexism, I’m not sure these things are inherently so bad as they are stupid. They’ve been cursing and tackling civilizations for millennia, while we crucify and martyr anyone who dares recognize the value our economies ignore.

And that is the value of love.
One sided consideration that never asks to be reciprocated.

It may not make you wealthy, but it will make you impervious to poverty.

And I wish I could hand you loftier reasoning, but if nothing else, trust that black kid, that person you don’t know how to call, people who don’t speak enough of your language to know how to call you, have money in their pockets. Value to their person. Probably spend it here and there, when and where they feel invited, welcome, and free.

Conservatism isn’t dying.
Natural causes are revealing it was never in our nature.
We’ve never been a conservative creature.

If we were, we’d have gone down with the trees, and never learned to stand upright. If we were conservative, there wouldn’t be this much diversity in our species.

In fact, one could argue, that if homo sapiens had been a more conservative animal in the past, we’d all still be black.

No matter how you look at your neighbors, exercise no right you would not also extend to them.
Because in the end,
it will come back for you.

Not because it is right.
It really is just better business.

You could use a thousand words.


How can we be free if we don’t voluntarily pay taxes. When we end up in jail if we don’t hand over however many dollar bills correlates to the life services we purchased in order just to stay alive. How can it be freedom, if it isn’t actually free to merely subsist within this system.

You have no answer for this. You could use a thousand words to prove to me you have no good answer to these words. You don’t. Fear of war. Fear of violence. Imagination that the symptoms plaguing our nation existed prior to the formation of things called nations. They didn’t. How do you fix society, when grouping a species as heavily dependent on ferocious individuality into too tight knit communities caused the problem in the first place.

It is simple. Humans need to be free range. And we’re being pastured in lots so small the grass is gone and we’re ankle deep in muck, eating thrown out Christmas candy, corn in every form but corn. Cages and barns and fence lines they say can change but never do.

Rural lives don’t need to be taxed at the same rate.
We’re not provided public transportation, or the daily services we depend on
to move trash and pump water and repackage a planet into suppertime.

There has to be place in this place where a human can just go and human.

Freedom means free access to the resources that support and sustain life.
By definition, freedom will never be provided by capitalism. Never.
You could use a thousand words. You will never change my mind.

A human is not an isolated existence, but a delicate balance struck between nutrition, hydration and environmental security, within a complex ever-changing universe that produces all of them. You can scream the word freedom until blood vessels in your face start to burst. But humans do not exist in a vacuum. When you mention a human, or look at a human, you are looking at food sources, water tables, and shelter structures that protect against weather and predators.
Without those things, you are not looking at a human.
You are only looking at a matter of time.

Food, water, and shelter are liturgical. They are God-given.
It is not America. It is not capitalism. Or democracy. It’s dinner.

It is your next breath.

I just think we should reconsider using the word free
when we are describing this much debt.

White Heaven #considerallthings

If I reach the end of my life, and find my greatest sin was being white, what then?
Will I explain to God how it was part of being American?
It was an entrenched system.
It had more to do with inheritance than with decisions.
What then?

I care so little for the color of skin. But the weight of true sin,
that is a burden like no other. An anchor on a ship built to circle the world.
And if you never learn to recognize it, you never leave the harbor.
Too heavy to push off from this morbid coil, this meal we let spoil
into redemption soil, inherited toil, this life effort into death comfort, into oceans.
History so heavy it drags bottom. Measures how far we’ve not gotten.
Shows us the depth we are all so eager to stay on top of.

It makes for an awkward discussion, but the perfect poem.
Seeing society cripple itself so that it favors one leg over the other.
White people who are really beige, offwhite, often pink, rarely really white,
fostering fear and weakness and feigned innocence so that disparity
can be dropped like an anchor and stop progress pushing in the wind.
We all see round sails and current lines and a horizons frowning
they are so anxious to be pushed back further.
Yet we do not draw it up to drip above the water,
so our past has become a permanent tether.

We know history can not go away, but while we refuse to carry it,
at least we know where we stay. White in the United States.

But ships are not meant to stay anchored.
I am confident we were not either.
And I refuse to let my greatest sin be living complacently in white America.
I don’t know what afterlife waits for white Americans.
Though I am doubtful it will be a white heaven.

Separate from our Source #considerallthings

Five hours from it, the air smells like ocean. Last night’s rain dotting windshields. Two cats on the hood of a jeep begging for food to eat, before the chickens are out to take it for themselves. Before it makes its way to them, it sits on shelves, waiting, for us with the lock-pick fingers to crinkle open and scoop like stingy saints. Like fast moving clouds. We may be dark gray mounds, but don’t think that always indicates rain. The keyhole of grace is the choice to abstain. Remember that. Next time someone calls something gracious. Remember how close the ocean is to all of us on the east coast. Seagulls circle a Walmart parking lot. Salt in the air. Sand in our soil.

Five hours from it, the dissent of the District is in my ears. Stoking fears, and rocking the boat so we won’t rethink our grip. Throwing up over the side of our ship, because captain can’t seem to steady it. But then again, why? Swimming isn’t so bad. There are lots of boat rides to be had. The ocean is still the ocean no matter the ship we elect to float on top of it. This government. Invented by underestimaters of the word freedom. Written by misunderstanders of the world we live in.

Fifteen thousand years from it, my ancestors sing unintelligible lullabies to my mind. Shut my doubts while I close my eyes. We have been here before. Lift your chin and smell it in the air just how close we are to our source. Five hours from it. Fifteen thousand years to numb it. And yet the birth of Mankind out from the torn folds of nature’s womb still stings. We cut ours, but we can not cut hers. And she grips us like the roots beneath trees. For the most part unseen. But felt. Delved deep. While raised heads seek crowns in orange sunlight and rainbow leaves. You can call it two parts, but on a long enough timeline, we will all see what is one. On a broad enough lifeline, we will feel what a misplaced sense of separation has won. A chance to be two together. All wrapped up and warm. By a mother who only ever wanted to see us set free. And far more than we, this buxom planet knows what freedom really means.

Not another American

I do not define freedom as having many choices. Every responsible adult knows if choice denotes freedom, we often have none. I recognize freedom more as the ability to be unaffected by the choices of others. From two hundred years ago or just the other day.

I am a human.
I am a child of God.
I have a tax free right to live on the earth,
no matter where or when I was born.
Until humans can choose a feral life,
domestication is not freedom.
Until the time comes when we can decide,
there will never be another free American.

A free species

Humans have roots. Don’t believe it? Maybe you could see it more clearly in a vacuum. Void of air and pressure and all the regulated status quo that keeps you whole. Or skip a meal, skip a day of meals, tell me if that root twisting your gut isn’t real. And what water is born out the ends of faucets, enters existence when you lift that lever and let in the slightest bit of air. Vomited out metal mouths sick from drinking so much rain and right out of aquifers and buried branches and rivers, up all night the night before. You and I have roots. You and I have nothing without roots. To claim human freedom, yet charge for shelter, water and food sources that feed them, is giving nothing but a word. We are born into and raised by and educated within wholly human worlds. But we are not even a tenth of our environment. We are not even a good wide window view of this planet. More like a weird, fat-headed, plastic-minded, clay creature conglomerate. A person on a patch of land they owe tax on, hungry for food they can’t pay for, thirsty for water buried beneath a bill. This is not freedom. Up until around a hundred years ago America always had wild places wild people could disappear into. Around three hundred years ago America was filled up by people who ran out of wild places in Europe. We are the inheritors of a people who knew freedom was not a state of being. It is a form of currency. Responsible for the roots that feed you. Ownership, as much as possible. What the hell can I do about fast cars and sports bars and suburban living and charitable giving. These things aren’t going anywhere. At least not as fast as the forests. The classroom that first taught us to human. We need to start out life in this place, and choose, really, out loud and conscientious, decide when we want to leave it behind. We can never be a free species while that choice is made for us. While all our roots trace back to dollar signs. And I think we need to be reminded. The human hand did not shape the human mind. The earth did.