Had an interesting email from a writer friend this afternoon, on the subject of freedom. He's thinking of the Iraqi election, of course.
And he writes:
"I understand that for people who don't read big books and don't "do" nuance, history is a complexity far out of range, but that doesn't change the lines of evidence history offers.
Freedom, in fact, not the rhetorical device charlatans use to
pull unguarded heart strings, is earned at great cost. The only
people in Iraq who are free are the Americans. We have it to give
away, which means ours is enhanced by the giving. They don't have it even though we give it away because freedom doesn't come as a gift. No one -- NO ONE - ever - EVER -- gives freedom away. Ask anyone, especially women in 1915 or Blacks between 1865 and 1964. Freedom comes when those who want it wrest it from those who have it. Ask those women and Blacks about that. Ask every people for the last 13,000 years of human history how they acquired their freedom. Most recently, Israel was given a country, but they have had to fight every day to keep it on their terms. If Irag is to be free, Iraqis will have to battle desperately to define it, get it, and keep it.
The "freedom" talked about on TV, in the administration's speeches, and the sycophants' pronouncements is cheap. It's the sort of nuance-free vacuousness that catches the ears of nuance-free empties, but it isn't freedom, and it never has been. What's so tragic about it is that it does catch the imagination of so many and, in the process, cheapens the sacrifices of so many."
He's absolutely right. Had a Navy SEAL tell me, "Freedom is bought with blood." Watching Afghanistan and Iraq and Africa and so many places in the world, the truth of what these men say is just that...truth.
Freedom in the US is getting less and less so in the name of security...pushed by the use of fear. How much are we willing to lose? And what will it be worth to us..what will it take..to get it back?