Perhaps, as I get more comfortable in my blogging, I will stop using disclaimers before my thoughts, but as it is at the moment, I am not quite their yet. I am utterly grateful for my life in the U.S. I am not so naive as to not know how vastly different and unfortunate it could be somewhere else in this world. I am also not naive as to think that we do not have things that we need to fix, and things that need to fixed sooner than later… That is where my opinions below come from…
As I am an addict for the Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black,” I couldn’t help but to begin making comparisons to the life of those inmate to my own. Perhaps I needed to justify the hours of wasted time I was spending in front of the TV, trying to tell myself it was okay that I had no control over hitting the “next episode,” button, over and over and over again. Regardless of the reasons for my philosophical thoughts, here is what I came up with… I find life in America to be a hypocrisy in itself. We claim our values and our fights are for freedom and claim that we are the freest of the free in the new world. I do beg to differ. I am not sure what freedom was defined as being at the beginning of our existence as a country, or if the meaning and value of freedom changed over the decades, but I sure as hell do not feel free, and you shouldn’t either. Here’s why.
Freedom of the Earth
While we certainly exercise more rights and freedoms on the outside world than those do behind bars, in essence, it isn’t a much different life at all. I’m not sure about you, but where I live, I cannot visit my neighborhood parks after sundown, I cannot drive down the roads on the weekend without being held up to drive through a DUI checkpoint, some of which take a long time. I cannot fish where I want to, swim where I want to, or even picnic where I want to. In all seriousness, what kind of freedom is that? When my government tells me that I cannot enjoy the great outdoors at the times that I please, that I must enjoy the parks between certain times, and before I even walk through the gates of the parks, I must read a laundry list of rules that I must follow before entering. It’s nature, it’s our Earth. How can there be so many rules on how I am to enjoy the planet that I was put on? Ah yes, I can already hear the opposing arguments. Rules are in place because people will take advantage and destroy, damage, and cause crime if they aren’t in place? Guess what. People still do that, even with all the rules that this world keeps creating in reaction to those who do not exercise good conscious. You can build the fences, you can post the laws, you can administer fines and judicial punishments, but people will jump the fences, vandalize the rule signs, skip paying the fines and continue on their merry way, while we are left with more rules that limit our enjoyment of the things we like to do. Inmates get a small amount of time and their activities limited during their outdoor time too. Is it much different than what is available to us?
I’m not sure that I would ever want to try jail or prison food. I think that I will die perfectly okay without having crossed that one off of my bucket list, however, after some of the concoctions that I have had to put together, I may not be that surprised that it would taste familiar. While I am not sure exactly where I stand on the GMO and organic arguments, the little that I do know scares me. I suppose that I choose not to dig too deeply into it, for the fear that I will come to understand just how dangerous, corrupt and sickening our food supply is, and that our government and these large corporations have been willingly poisoning us with, solely to reap a profit. The problem is, is that even if I could confirm that to myself (which I do not want to) I would not be able to afford NOT to eat the shit that is causing us disease and ill health. You see, I survive on coupons, on good sales. Certainly not affording the organic aisles, Whole Foods, or specialty non GMO food that is to be found in our supermarkets. I make decent money… or better money than some, and still do not have a choice when it comes to my diet. I can either go hungry, or I can choose to eat the poison that fits into by budget. Perhaps splurging from time to time on the pure items, but not enough where it would make a difference in my health. Am I that different than the prisoners who have no choice in what is being served to them on a daily basis? While I have the freedom to buy whatever I would like, my freedom is essentially restricted based on my budget. Not having choices equates to not having freedom in my book.
My least favorite topic. It became my least when I stopped living in my little bubble and truly realized how intensely people are suffering in our country over their healthcare problems. I have been exceptionally blessed in my short life with my health care. My father had a government job which provided me and my entire family with free, top of the line health care. When I went to work at 18 full-time, I was blessed with a job that also provided me with free, great health care. When I switched jobs a few years ago, I was AGAIN blessed with a job that provides me with OK, and affordable health care options. I suppose I never really understood what not having health care could do to a family or an individual. I never truly understood how our health care system is a for profit industry, unlike over in Europe, and it’s not for the betterment of our nation or our people that it exists, yet it exists solely as an animal to bring in the money. I suppose I always believed that people couldn’t be turned away for treatments and procedures because of lack of quality insurance. It literally shattered my heart and soul to begin reading about people who HAVE been denied treatments that they needed to save their own lives or the lives of their loved ones. It filled me with this hate and disgust for this capitalist, greedy world that we live in. It made me want to collect all my pennies and go homeless, just to donate a tiny little fragment of the money they might need to survive. It made me want to move to Europe, where human dignity and humane philosophy seems a little more prevalent. Again, of course, we have the freedom to have health care, however, that freedom we find, comes with a price tag. And a price tag that many cannot afford.
Is it truly freedom if we have to purchase it? Freedom should come without a receipt, come without a price tag, and come without restrictions. Applying new rules and laws to our lives, and justifying them by saying that these restrictions are necessary in order for us to keep our freedoms is the biggest hypocritical statement I believe that I have ever heard. Freedom is just free. Free of silly rules, free of taxes, free of worry and needless suffering. Freedom should be the most beautiful thing that we experience, the most beautiful state of life that we could live in. I truly believe that the more freedom we could experience, the quicker all the ugly in the world would disappear. If we were absolutely free to make our own choices, free to be healthy, free to enjoy the Earth that we all live on, we just might find the time, and the space in our hearts to enjoy that freedom with those around us. It might create a new sense of community, and would certainly create happier people. Happier people would be more productive and charitable. Happier people would spread the optimism quicker, as happiness is one of the most contagious feelings there is. Unfortunately, negativity is also highly contagious, and it appears that we have a lot of burdens and miseries in the current state we are in. We stay negative then, as our reasons to be purely and ultimately happy are dwindling, as the sob stories and heart-breaking realities come to our attention, we affirm that the negative in this world is true and real, and we begin to sulk in it, but not necessarily fight against it. Happy people create change. Negative people sulk. Sulking just gives you wrinkles.
XO all yours,