If Americans Are Truly Free, Why Are We Always Questioning Our Freedom?
Perhaps, Americans are being controlled, but the control is not being exerted from without, in the form of government institutions. Perhaps, the feeling of ‘control’ comes from deep systematic beliefs that are rooted within, starting nearly from birth.
In light of the mask debate, I was ranting to my son about how infuriating it is that people are coming up with the most asinine reasons not to wear a mask.
The foremost I find irritating is, “It’s my constitutional right not to wear one!”
My quick rebuttal to this is, “Yeah, well, I can’t get an abortion even if my life is in danger, because you people are hellbent on “saving lives.” Now all of a sudden, you can’t wear a damn piece of fabric on your face for 20 minutes to save lives?! Fucking hypocrisy!”
Anyway, that is most definitely a different rant for a different article.
My son’s response to my ire was this. He laughed and said, “Yeah, Americans are always questioning their freedom, and fighting back from being controlled.”
Yet, why is this?
It got me thinking heavily, and this is my theory on the matter.
Perhaps, Americans are being controlled, but the control is not being exerted from without, in the form of government institutions. Perhaps, the feeling of ‘control’ these people feel comes from deep systematic beliefs that are rooted within, starting nearly from birth.
We don’t want to conform, yet our society breeds conformity within our education system, our spiritual beliefs, our corporate work environments.
Are these acts of defiance truly against the surface issue these individuals fight so vehemently against? Or are they inherently fighting something more deeply rooted? Resisting against beliefs that don’t resonate within, yet they are not conscious of this. Many of us have been ingrained with beliefs that contradict maintaining our identity and autonomy.
In America, our entire culture is riddled with conformity standards that don’t seek to nurture who we are as individuals. The rule, rather than the exception, is: be a part of the masses, or you are an outcast.
Think about this, in puritan religions, the cornerstone of many American’s faith in God is based on the premise of Christianity. These puritanical religions teach that you become part of the flock, lose your identity to God, do whatever He tells you to, and then you’ll be saved. Or, in other words, conform.
Not much room left for your own identity is there? And if you have a personality that bucks this standard naturally, you are labeled a ‘black sheep.’ Yes, that’s where the term comes from. These people feel like they don’t belong anywhere. So again, conform.
In our education system, you are expected to sit down, shut up, do as the teacher tells you. You must graduate by a grading system that is not rooted in cultivating or validating you as an individual. There is little room for your creative thought processes unless you attain a very high status in education first. Or, in other words, conform first, identity later.
Children are not driven in education by the measure that having a creative thought process should be their drive. By contributing with their individuality, they can help humanity for good.
No, we were taught that unless we work for that grade, we won’t pass; therefore, we aren’t good enough to be a part of the masses when we become adults. If you can follow each step of the system (which ironically is called ‘learning’), then you graduate and are considered successful. Or, in other words, conform.
Corporate America simply becomes an extension of the game learned in grade school and college. One is expected to follow the rules of middle management, and even if those rules don’t make sense – do it – or die. Well, maybe not die physically, but certainly, career-wise, kiss your ambitions goodbye if you don’t learn to play the game. Most corporate games are a ‘kiss ass – suck up – high school’ popularity model. Or, in other words, conform.
So, where is there room for creativity? A place to be yourself in America and not be scrutinized or ostracized for being different? There isn’t much room. Have we progressed as the clock continues to turn over? Yes, however, I propose that its progress is something akin to extracting nails from asphalt.
We put artists or athletes who have made it to the big leagues on a pedestal of glory. But only after they have made it to the top. We revere those who have spilled blood, sweat, and tears to attain their position. Why? Because it’s not a popular career to be an artist or athlete – it’s impractical.
Think about the little guy just starting in any facet of art. If a child wants to pursue a career in art, that career choice is considered whimsical. We are considered ‘starving?’ Not taken seriously. Often scoffed at by ‘real working citizens’ as playing around with a hobby, and not working at all!
So again, I pose the question – where in America are we free to be free? It’s little wonder we have all these ‘freedoms’ we can’t even enjoy because our culture is riddled with a shallow system of conformist’s beliefs – a ruler in which we measure ourselves by everyone else’s standards but our own!
The individual who seeks to embrace who they want, or even dare I say, are meant to be, are heavily criticized for trying to do so. Those who follow ‘the flock’ and don’t put up much resistance are considered ‘the good boys and girls.’ Yet, are these ‘good little boys and girls’ happy?
Interestingly, I find those who shout the loudest about their ‘so-called repression of freedoms’ are the ones who are still heavily shackled to chasing that standard of being like everyone else in religious or work environments to validate that they matter in life. I know this game all too intimately. I played it for thirty years before I nearly danced the tango with the Grim Reaper.
I propose that the lie of freedom has nothing to do with the government, and everything to do with our cultural beliefs.
Conform – and you’ll be happy. That’s the lie we are sold. Except that rarely works out for most.
Or buck conformity and get socially lynched. One must suffer a lot, and I do mean a lot, to succeed on the road that lies on the fringe. You’ll often receive great push back before an awakening occurs, and you let go of not caring. Most often, people find it’s too hard to do, so they go back to miserably conforming.
Is it any wonder we as citizens we feel we are not truly free?