alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2013-03-08 03:32 am

Freedom Isn't Free

Today I saw a bumper magnet on an
SUV. In red and white and blue it said
"freedom isn't free".

"Support our soldiers", too, in gold, which tells me
what they mean: blood sweat tears of those who serve bought
it for you and me.

I find it hard to argue; I'm an Air Force
brat myself. But Wiktionary shows fifteen
meanings for the word.

Not all apply, but enough do that it's not
as straightforward as it seems. Free means no chains,
means free as a bird.

Free means no money at point of service, and
we might stop here and know that the magnet's sense
is conveyed in full.

But freedom does not mean unconstrained, nor with
no obligation. We owe one another.
They say not—that's bull.

The right to swing my fist ends where your nose starts.
If you may worship speak write meet as you please,
so, therefore, may I.

Bear arms if you want, you have that right, but
only if your blood sweat tears pain wounds and life
are the coin to buy

The freedom you so prize. The home is free of
state interference, the body too—consent
must be given first.

The state has no right to break our privacy
without good reason. That means no eavesdropping.
(CISPA is the worst.)

The Fifth through Eighth Amendments bore me, but don't
think that means I think them unimportant. They
are anything but.

The Ninth and Tenth protect rights not specified.
The Thirteenth—surely this is what that magnet
means! Do you know what

The bloodiest war (with known casualty count)
in North America was fought for? To free
black slaves from their chains!

This particular SUV did not have
a Confederate flag that I could see. We
were in different lanes.

Perhaps it was not there at all, but I've seen it
on other vehicles with that same slogan
as if it's a toy.

Dramatic pause. It's true, freedom is not free:
women pay—wage gap, rape culture, second shift—
for freedoms men enjoy.

My taxes, thirteen percent effective rate,
since my state's sales tax is zero not seven,
subsidize the rich.

Mitt Romney paid the same percent effective
tax as I, income seven hundred times mine.
Tax rates, what a—

I paid more dollars in taxes than GE.
So did you, if you paid more than none. Why should
companies skate by?

Companies are legal fictions, convenient
constructs purpose-built. They're not people. We know
because they can't die,

only cancel or dissolve. They do not, can
not speak or pray, yet their freedom of speech and
worship concerns us

so much that we will destroy our voting rights
and reproductive freedom to preserve the
rights—wait, that's a plus!

See also, women paying for men's freedom.
Folk of color pay for white folks' freedom too.
See wage statistics.

Resumé callbacks broken down by perceived
race of applicant. War On Drugs prisoner
characteristics!

I could go on, but I think by now either
I have made my point or you have stopped reading.
Freedom ISN'T free.

Those who pay the price are not the ones who get
the benefit. All we want is our fair share!
Secure OUR liberty!


Creative Commons License
Freedom Isn't Free by Elizabeth Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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