Tag Archives: Freedom

Butterflies

This morning as I opened my car door, and pushed my sliding car seat forward to slip my lunch bag behind my seat, I noticed I had a guest.  It was a beautiful butterfly with  it’s wings closed as if it had just landed on a flower.  It baffled me as I thought about how and when the butterfly floated into my car, and without me noticing.   I know it had to have been inside for at least one day, as I hadn’t been in my car since the day before yesterday.  I blew on the butterfly to see if there was a chance that it was still alive, but as I suspected, it was not.  I began to feel a rush of emotions come over me: sadness, pride, compassion, sympathy, longing, and love.  Here I was, unsuspecting, receiving what I now view as a symbol, a gift, message of what’s to come.  This butterfly, for a reason not yet known to me, chose to lay itself to rest in my presence, promising me transformation, everlasting knowledge, and freedom.  I learned that butterflies are associated with death and rebirth, much like their life cycle.  They represent the souls of people who have passed away, as well as a sign of new life.  It could be that the spirit of my great-grandfather, my cousin who was taken away from our family a couple years back, or the soul of someone or something I have not yet met has come to pass a message.  It could be a symbol of life that I am now charged with bringing into this world.  Whatever it’s meaning, I feel honored by the visit, and wanted to share it’s beauty with you.

 



…with liberty and justice for some.

I don’t remember the exact time I stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  I know it was primary school age, because I remember vividly protesting against it at first, by not placing my hand over my heart, then by not saying anything at all, and finally, not standing all together.  It had to be primary age because in middle school, the pledge wasn’t played over the loud speakers, and in high school there was upheaval about the word “God” being a part of the pledge.  So, at an early age, I realized I wasn’t American.  It was if I already knew that “dream” didn’t include me.  No one told me to protest, no one said to me directly that I wasn’t protected by it’s promises.  But somehow I was aware that liberty and justice did not include me…

As I reflect on my life as a citizen of the United States, I would have to be blind to say that I don’t have it relatively better than perhaps most people on the planet.  Even though I struggle financially, and I don’t have healthcare, or even my own place at this very moment in time, I have the basics.  I have hot, running water, I have literally all the food I can eat.  I have an education and even a full-time, decent paying job.  But what I don’t have (and what many others don’t have as well) is a guarantee that tomorrow will be the same.  When my campus job is over, I’m technically homeless.  If I fall ill today, I can’t go to my physician, and if I go to the emergency room, my credit score will plummet even further into the depths.  I can’t go to the movies, or out for ice cream because I’m waiting for a paycheck (after three and a half weeks of work).  These things are all miniscule in the eyes of many people my age across the world.  But what this does represent is a false sense of freedom, and an immeasurable injustice.

Why is it that we celebrate our Independence, anyway?  Yes, we outsmarted the King and found a new home to call our own, but it was never ours to begin with.  So in this case, one man’s (or nation’s) freedom is another man’s bondage?  Our “forefathers” came to this country with fine garb and livestock, while my people came in chains.  Talk about independence!  The indigenous people of the Americas, those to whom this land rightfully belonged, became savages and squatters in their own home.  Talk about independence!  Women, who bore the brunt of population growth, didn’t have much choice in the matter to begin with.  And we talk about independence?

So the way I see it, what we are truly celebrating on this fourth day of July is conquest.  We loot and we pillage for our own self-gain.  We don’t care who we have to step on, spit on, or kill to gain our personal freedom.  And really, our liberty comes at a cost for others.

So today, as I listen to the slap-happy banter about cookouts, fireworks, and freedom, I can only pretend to believe in the American Dream.  It’s the greatest fantasy of all time!  I don’t mean to kill anyone’s dream of one day actually enjoying freedom, but sadly, that day and that time isn’t amongst us.  And to those few that are experiencing the sweet taste of liberty, I hope you paused today, and contemplated the cost…

 


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