The meaning of freedom: A word so many died defending |

The meaning of freedom: A word so many died defending

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

So how did you celebrate Memorial Day? Was it a long weekend with friends and families and backyard barbecues? Or did you put up your flag feeling good you did your patriotic duty? I did it all.

In our polarized America, we have differing views of what freedom, the core value saluted in those lyrics, means.

My grandson, raised in a Colorado household of both immigrants and those who could trace New World ancestors back to the late 1600s, just returned from a visit with relatives of his nearest and dearest in a southern state. His comment was, “they live in a different world and now I understand why Donald Trump is popular there.” To him profound political divisions became real.

I was not surprised.

I grew up in Oklahoma, the reddest of any state, but I spent the remainder of my life in large urban areas both in Europe and in the U.S. and married a refugee from eastern Europe.

I have experienced authoritarianism and non-free societies practiced first hand. Not everyone has that perspective, but it has influenced my political thought about what freedom means and what I find disturbing today in this very politically polarized America.

While I respect others’ rights to hold values that differ even from what I was taught in my Oklahoma youth, I see personal freedom as protected in our Constitution’s First Amendment.

The real threat to our traditional views of freedom lies within our own country’s hearts and minds.

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