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The United States of America, the greatest country the world has ever known.

I heard that alot growing up.

Accolades for American greatness came from politicians, foreign statesmen, artists and writers, journalists, Hollywood, my teachers. It could be heard in the crashing of generational waves of immigrants onto our shores, all wanting to become Americans. Hell, even my own kin folk broke down in sentiment on a 4th of July or two.

America's secret to greatness was no secret: we were the land of the free. We were free and we celebrated and touted it, exported it and, we told ourselves and the rest of the world: this freedom is enduring.

Freedom defined who we were and it justified how we lived... the big ideas, the free markets, the hippies and Hollywood, helping our neighbors worldwide in times of crisis... we were great, rich, and generous.

In remembrance of our freedom and its stamp on the the American character, I give you two great Americans,  Franklin Roosevelt and Norman Rockwell ...

THE FOUR FREEDOMS
excerpt from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech to Congress, 6 January 1941
... and illustrated by the great Norman Rockwell

Freedom of SpeechIn the future days which we seek to make secure,
we look forward to a world founded upon
four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression --
everywhere in the world.

Freedom to WorshipThe second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.

Freedom from WantThe third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.

Freedom from FearThe fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

As it turns out, freedom from fear may be the most compelling of the four. It is a mature idea, well beyond a doctrine of safety. In my analysis, it is the courage to put ones self in harms way, whether on a battlefield or in a protest march. It is a freedom from fear that enables us to stand against systems threatening our culture, home, and country.

Strikingly ironic then that our politicians are bloody brilliant in usurping our freedom with fear. Despite the fact that most of our political hacks haven't a clue about economics, they tend to be expert at portraying hallmarks of our free society, like due process or privacy, as stumbling blocks to safety and convincing us, instead, that  FISA, the Military Commissions Act, and expansion of executive power will inDEED keep us free safe.

Yep. Promising to keep us safe somehow softens the slaughter of our freedom.

Okay, now we have all these dead uber terrorist bad guys bin Laden, Gaddafi, Kim Jong, and Saddam Hussein, which begs at least one LARGE question: do I still have to take my shoes off in order to board an airplane? With so many bad guys and regimes falling, is it really necessary to glorify a decade-long string of bad policy with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)?

But hey: We have free markets and free trade and bigger houses and tons of technology. So what if we've imprisoned our social nature and made ideals, like truth, seem irrelevant and useless.

Is it that we humans are not equipped biologically to manage the level of complexity we've designed in our lives? Surely, we're all drowning in ill conceived layers of tangled and completely mangled global networks.

Not to mention: most of us just don't do consequences.

Yet... as Carl Sagan said... we are the stuff of which stars are made... so perhaps the violence and beauty in the ever-moving universe is what we mimic.

Yes. We are violent, horrible, random, brilliant, beautiful and, I believe, unaware of ourselves as a continuum of a chaotic cosmic process.

We have tumbled out of the universe onto this little itty bitty planet, creating ourselves as we go. The question to unravel, I suppose is who are "we" now and what the fuck are "we" going to do... now...

Economic power seems fundamental to mediating and moderating forces... thus it would seem logical to revive regional economies and small business as first steps to help restore equilibrium.

Downsize our ideas about what an economy should do: like ever-expanding growth on in a finite environment just won't work.

School boards, town boards, zoning boards... that's where I think the real work and rewards are. Establishing local and regional platforms of power and influence to push back against the insanity of the few who have lost touch with, well, the bigger picture.

You are in your jet—you don't have a grip on reality. We can lose touch with reality quite easily.

Karl Lagerfield

We've got people in charge of this tiny globe who've lost touch with reality. Writing to them, e-mailing them, calling them in Washington or elsewhere isn't gonna suddenly wake them up.

Changing our lifestyles, buying habits, living leaner & smaller won't wake up those out-of-touch either... but maybe we'll wake up to something more sustainable, sane, and stable that we ordinary folk can negotiate around the globe.

Tue May 14, 2013 at  5:29 PM PT: something I wrote from Dec 2011... i have a longing for the way things were. or do i have a longing for the way i felt before this new century? there were so many things of which i was unaware and inch by inch, i feel like i'm drowning in regret for a world, a civilization that seems gone with the wind.................


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Comment Preferences

  •  here's to freedom (13+ / 0-)

    of the press, of speech, of religion, and from fear.......

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” - Mark Twain

    by pfiore8 on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:36:14 PM PDT

  •  our forefathers needed slaves to succeed (6+ / 0-)

    Freedom was a benefit guys like me enjoyed, the rest of the non white guys were not that lucky.  

    Women, black folks, gays, lesbians and pretty much all other non white guys are just getting around to being free.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:53:21 PM PDT

  •  I've got a poem about the Four Freedoms. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, pfiore8
  •  Meanwhile, Eleanor Roosevelt quietly changed (5+ / 0-)

    ...the entire world -- and the way human beings are regarded.

    ::

    At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations was created, vowing never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again.

    In 1946, world leaders decided to create a road map for all national constitutions that would guarantee the rights of every individual.

    The Commission on Human Rights was formed. It included 18 members from various political, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was its leader.

    It took the commission two years to draft the "Declaration on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms."  which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

    “I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one’s personality.  In the Great Hall…there was an atmosphere of genuine solidarity and brotherhood among men and women from all latitudes, the like of which I have not seen again in any international setting.”
    Today, these rights are included in most of the world's constitutions, and in the constitutions of all the developed nations.

    American citizens, however, do not enjoy these human rights, because the antique US constitution does not allow for them.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Tue May 14, 2013 at 06:42:30 PM PDT

    •  i think certainly these are supported by (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino

      the bill of rights under "pursuit of happiness" and the concept of due process among other things.

      having said that, i realize most of us can't truly embrace the idea of "human" rights because we don't yet understand buying cheap as crusher of human AND animal rights.

      in fact, one can not exclude our fellow earthlings from a bill of rights if it is to have any real meaning.

      our value system needs to change or evolve in order to truly grasp a more Buddhist-like way of life/mindset, understanding that desire and attachment keeps us cruel and greedy.

      but how do we do nice and still keep our edge, our excitement?

      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” - Mark Twain

      by pfiore8 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 02:16:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pfiore8

    I don't know if we were ever good, the way you describe.  But the sense of duty and the straight up faith of my parent's generation -- in some sort of cohesive society, in a living social contract to be had with work if not yet manifest -- was real enough.  For them, at any rate.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:38:43 PM PDT

    •  yes. that's it: a cohesive society. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, cynndara

      living more modest lives...

      and nobody telling you that 100s of millions of people would be forced to leave their homes because of our desire for beef and cars...

      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” - Mark Twain

      by pfiore8 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 01:35:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the other hand (0+ / 0-)

        My parents (and FDR) lived in a far more rank based society.  And I -- having grown up post 60s -- hate that shit.  People knew their place and had a place.  People believed that society worked, and if it didn't work, that was just the way it is.  

        I'm at a point where I really don't trust my species at all.  My year plus in Olympia has led me to think that people on the left can become as ideological and rank-driven as anyone else, and center it around the modesty of their lives (we recycle!  and drive a prius!  Well, one for me and one for my partner!  no I won't go to Starbucks, we have to drive five more miles for the non corporate coffee!  We have to, you have to, they have to...)

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:16:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for re-posting this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pfiore8

    I missed it back in 2011.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Tue May 14, 2013 at 08:46:06 PM PDT

    •  you are welcome. (0+ / 0-)

      i was thinking about freedom with the whole AP thing and this popped into my mind.

      “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” - Mark Twain

      by pfiore8 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 01:35:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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