Land of the Free

close up photo of people holding usa flaglets

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Happy Independence Day to all those in America who are free. And I don’t mean those who are metaphorically free, entering us all into a debate about privilege and rights, those who are more free than others (although we certainly could have that discussion), I mean those who are not in cages. Who sleep in beds and not on top of their neighbors. Who live in conditions other than of 62% increase not well maintained by current facilities. I mean children who have eaten a hot meal, who have not showered or had diapers changed.

And let me stop you before you get too far into your comment thread rant (which, you should know, I appreciate), you’re right to raise the issue of the homeless veterans. Are these women, men, and soldiers free? Stuck sleeping on pavement after shooting bullets into the skulls of those claiming to hold our freedom on foreign shores? Caught in government funded red tape deciding what healthcare should and should not be afforded?

And sure, we can talk about the Black men who are shot for holding what might be a gun and the White men who are carried out of mass shootings in handcuffs by cops who can keep their cool.

We could discuss how America’s youth are being taught by wait staff who can’t afford to pay their bills and buy pencils.

The point is, as I’ve said, not to discuss the degrees of freedom we do or do not have. The point is we have children caged in the land of the free and we’d rather talk about who’s fault it is or who started it. Didn’t Obama do the same thing, or is Trump the one who made a good thing bad?

We’re imprisoned by our ideologies that for 243 years have taught us what to love and who to hate. What to hate and who we love. How to speak loudest in a room of quiet trauma. I wonder if the land of the free can learn to listen to the ones we have in chains. If we can loose the ones we’ve attached to our own wrists over the unwillingness to be wrong. If there is such a thing as freedom.

2018 July 4 Reflection Here

Bryce’s debut collection can be purchased here. 25% of the profits go to organizations like RAINN, 1in6, and End The Backlog. He writes short stories for free here. Support him by purchasing your next book through this special link and get FREE worldwide shipping.

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