The lack of consciousness resulting in irony in the face of the pandemic is a cruel sword that has been disappearing into the heart of American society. The continuing chasm between sides in this country has moved further by a suggestion that some have derided as a violation of their American rights and their personal freedom, the suggestion that face masks be worn in public. But the word freedom has more than one meaning and if rights are your main concern then why stop at face masks?
Red lights, clothing, and basic city codes could just as easily be seen as violations too. Pushing for freedom loosely congregating around vacating any laws that impose restrictions on a person walks the thin line between being free and being lawless.
Freedom is a heavily weighted word and one that gets tossed around in many situations where it most likely should not. A face mask might seem like a personal choice, but the second meaning of freedom is the “absence of subjection to foreign domination”. A virus could certainly be considered “foreign domination” but the meaning of freedom is only personally applied here and not looked at through the lens of the nation as a whole.
When people started kneeling during the national anthem this was never looked at as a personal freedom but rather a direct violation of American code of conduct. This, they said, waived a fist in the face of those who fought for this country, those who fought for us to keep our freedom. But what definition of freedom was meant was not so quickly expounded on.
The brave women and men that fought for our freedoms in the devastating wars this country has taken part in will be commemorated over the weekend with Memorial Day. It’s a time to remember those who have battled for the very same freedoms those who refuse to wear a mask believe they are speaking of. Extinguishing the subjection of foreign rule allows us to maintain our personal freedoms, but these two definitions are often intermingled in a confusing and illogical manner. First freedom from outside forces, then freedom of personal choice, for if an outside force is allowed to take us over, our personal freedoms would be at a firm risk.
When a fellow American decides they want to be part of any branch of the military that are considered G.I. or Government Issued. World War I saw the term G.I. meaning “Galvanized Iron” but that term changed throughout the next twenty years until Eisenhower in 1945 called the military members “G.I. Joes”. The term Government Issued means that you belong to the U.S. Military. As a service woman or man, you have the responsibility of taking orders for the greater good of your platoon.
Your individual freedoms mean much less than the freedoms of your entire group, of your family, or your country. These people are lauded as heroes for not only their bravery, but for limiting their personal freedoms for the greater good. This act of selflessness, the ability to take orders for your country, to band together for a greater good, is what makes us tough as nails, and why we have yet to lose our freedoms, especially from any “foreign domination”.
The irony is that the celebration of personal freedoms that borders on lawlessness is exactly the type of behavior that has been persecuted by the same group of individuals. When in fact, those previously fighting for personal freedoms were doing so for the greater good, with no foreign enemy threat. By standing up for what is freedom in America, they are at the same time tearing away the fabric of what made this country so great in the first place; giving up what is yours for what is best for all.
So, this weekend as we storm the beaches to celebrate our personal freedoms, we should stop and think about those who previously stormed the beaches, their personal freedoms on hold, to uphold the greater good, to eradicate foreign domination, to preserve our individual freedoms and enjoy them together.