Are you one of the lucky ones? Do you see yourself as having received a lot from life because you have had the good fortune to be an America? I know I do.
When I think back to how much beauty, tranquility, peace and freedom I have enjoyed from external sources because I live in a free country, I marvel and I’m grateful. I am primarily speaking of political freedom, those freedoms that come from law, tradition and institutions but of course freedom is also spiritual and found in Christ because he can free a person from anything. I won’t elaborate on that here, but you can find out more about what that looks like in practical terms through this link. I would love to expound on the philosphy behind that someday too but here I am primarily interested in the outside forces that institute freedom. It seems to me that those of us who have something good, like freedom, are called to share it so we enjoy more of it. So many people grow up amid war, lack of sanitation, in a chilling political atmosphere where they aren’t free to speak or enjoy the life God gave them but not me. I’ve been lucky and I don’t know why. One thing I do know is that I want future children, all children, but particularly American ones because this is where I vote, this is where I live and where I have received blessing to have the same and that is what this blog is all about.
This blog is written to help me and others keep and understand the blessings of freedom as they have been classically understood by Americans. I think that makes me a freedom fighter and I know there are others like me.
The world is a “brutiful” place, as my nemesis Glennon Doyle Melton put it when she described how it can melt and break your heart in the same moment and until Jesus returns hurtling clouds, horses and angels toward earth (yay!) it’s always going to be a difficult place. Nevertheless, because I’ve lived such a free, beautiful life despite all there is to worry about; because I’ve been free of governmental oppression and the unsettled financial atmosphere I would have faced in my native Mexico; I feel responsible to speak against movements in the government, the social structure, and the controlling instincts of the pious (both religious and secular), that can ruin that freedom. I am a mother after all and just like my body housed children until they could break free into the world, I want political influences around children to let them be free to go from strength to strength and learn to love because love requires freedom.
So though the world is not a perfect place and it won’t be; children shouldn’t have to live under oppressive martial law like my cousins did for a while in Juarez, Mexico. They live like that because the government can’t protect them from drug lords. People get kidnapped and murdered on a routine basis there. They fear of crime and corruption chills the atmosphere. People aren’t free to relax and move about or speak up the way they are here. They aren’t free to think because they aren’t allowed to investigate questions deeply, speculate, write or speak openly.
My life experience has been so different growing up here in the U.S. than those of my cousins in Mexico. I rode my bicycle at night all over Glendale, CA as a teen. It was not a small town but it was safe enough to do that. I took long walks and had long talks under the moon with my sister and friends in the 80’s and 90’s. I certainly walked to school, often alone. I took buses into downtown L.A. and rested in hot city parks and rarely had a problem. I wore shorts over my bathing suit on my way to the public pool every day of Summer. I faced some crime but drug lords certainly didn’t own the city. It’s nothing like what relatives of mine in Mexico face. They have iron bars over their windows and doors as well as high iron fences. By contrast, my high school did not have a fence around when I was young. I got to enjoy an atmosphere of relative peace and freedom. I felt safe and I was able to roam.
I believe I felt safe because, despite whatever tumult there was in my family, government kept crime under control, our parents were committed to us kids, and we had a strong connection to our Baptist church in our daily lives. When I went to college, the professors were mostly left leaning and taught us biased ideas (I really wish that would change) but nobody kicked me out of school, or arrested me when I challenged my teachers or wrote right wing opinion pieces in the school newspaper.My teachers liked me well enough and treated me fairly, even if they deeply disagreed with me. America, despite it’s challenges, has been a place where I’ve been free to think and say what I like.
Overall, the authorities above us were all stable and relatively harmless. I was happy even though I was an outsider. I did not become a citizen until Ronald Reagan signed Amnesty. Since my family hated the thought of applying for anything, we never asked for financial help though we were probably a bit poor. It’s hard to be poor if you’re a Southern Californian, you almost don’t even need a coat. I’m joking but it’s close to true.
We did receive a lot of benefits freely though. Free access to the libraries, the parks, the schools, the roads, church, the beaches, etc., made it possible to have a rich life. Our diet full of beans :), tortillas, oatmeal and milk coupled with lots of swimming and walking kept us healthy which was good because we did not have lots of money for Dr.s.
I want these benefits, freedom to roam, freedom to think, freedom to express, to live in peace, to worship and more to continue for generations of American children down the line.
I care about children who are not American too and I want to point out that Americans aren’t likely to offer help to other countries if they don’t feel stable themselves. The U.S. was in a better position back when I was a girl to allow Amnesty for those like me because of it’s strength and because the problems of foreign terrorism, drug cartel violence and immigrants having so many entitlement had not infiltrated here yet. Americans, particularly religious ones have funded aid to the starving, the thirsty and the oppressed all over the world and they felt capable to doing so because they’ve had excess. People who feel poor don’t often give.
So whenever Socialism raises its head to wipe out the free market or controlling politicians feel itchy to defang the 2nd Amendment, or violent people want to keep citizens from attending peaceful meetings to hear opinions they don’t like, or people experiment with the family unit making it unstable I want to write about the defenses for it. I want other kids to have the benefits I did.