The reason humankind has always migrated to fill up every available space is that we are fundamentally programmed to seek freedom. It’s part of what has made us so successful as a species. When conditions are unfit for people at home, they leave. They make a new life elsewhere – with their own rules, their own decisions.
In many cases, the farther the better. Who hasn’t said to someone else in a fit of desperation, desire, or love: “we could just run away”…? Away from any of the restrictions we place on each other…
It is a fundamental human spiritual need. Our souls crave it, our minds need it, our hearts yearn for it, our nation is built on it. We are a nation of immigrants, pioneers all, brave and intrepid. Most not knowing what to expect, but all full of hope for a brighter tomorrow. Many came from societies of frightening oppression at home. No person alive loves slavery to any other interests than their own. Everyone wants to make their own way in this world, to leave their own stamp on history, no matter how small.
We all just want to live freely, and in peace, without war or oppression. Each of these is inseparable from and related to each of the others. Without freedom, humankind will never know peace. Malcolm X said “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
We were guaranteed freedom to believe what we wish, to live lives how we see fit, to be ourselves, so long as we harm no one. Liberty. It is the prime civil right. It is the natural state of people absent any coercive interference. It is what any civilized society should guarantee to its people, and from it flows our lives and all our other rights, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship in a free society.
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our birth as a nation marked those words. We would do well to heed them. Our overlarge overreliance on government and society makes it hard to hear those words from so great a distance. I am determined they will not fade forever. It is difficult to free people from chains they revere, whether it is blood, ideology, or psychology that keeps them chained. Familiarity breeds comfort. For abused people it is sometimes easier to apologize and keep heads down than do all the hard work necessary to finally be free from the abuse.
Tribalism shapes us this way. Base emotional manipulations that make us like people who share our labels and hate those who don’t. The same ones that make us ‘us’ and them ‘them’. It’s always something, and it always leads authoritarians to stomp libertines, wars of all kinds are fought over nonsense. Especially when fighting a symbol, an idea, a word. It’s hard to find endpoints when you’ve lost sense of what an enemy truly is. Eventually everyone wants out, though, and freedom was the reason we were born.
People only earn liberty when they demand it, but people mistake what that means. It is not given to you by someone else. It requires demanding more of oneself. It is something you cultivate within. It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war, but just as gardeners must become warriors to survive war, warriors need to become gardeners again to find peace after. Cultivate life, cultivate love, cultivate spirit, cultivate peace. People have to want to change to become the change they want. True freedom lies within.
I want change in America. Do you?