If every human was conscientious and never acted disrespectfully towards another human, freedom would be very different in our world. We would be able to trust that no person or organization would, consciously or not, seek to take advantage of or harm another person or group of people.
But, since that freedom definition is the ideal versus the reality, laws, courts, and prisons were created to help prevent, but also deal with those who harmed others, intentionally or not.
As someone who desperately sought the freedom to live the life right for me, not defined by other people’s expectations and wants, I felt caged by invisible bars. As a result, for years the desire to be accepted for my differences caused me to do the crazy dance of acing like most people I knew and then in defiance, when the restraint became overwhelming, I acted out, hurting both other people and myself.
Freedom finally came to me along with the wisdom no one gets to define my life, my beliefs, and my actions, so now I live my life as I need to do for my own well-being. People like Nelson Mandela also helped me to understand what real freedom feels and looks like. Fortunately also, wisdom provided the respect and compassion to not force my beliefs and actions on another person or group, but also to be aware of how my beliefs and actions affect others.
Right now, after many weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are crying “Freedom” and this morning I even heard an American restaurant owner, who had opened his restaurant and served a large number of people not practising social distancing, also cry out his and their civil liberties are being violated, so his civil disobedience is his and his customers’ right.
But civil disobedience, exemplified in Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Civil Disobedience” that is part of many high school curriculum, is not about doing what one wants for any reason … it is about doing what one can to object to political leadership … that is harmful.
Sadly, though, many people who are citing freedom and resorting to civil disobedience are not acting to protect others as is its intention, in this case other people’s health, but to satisfy their personal wants, risking the lives of others for their own satisfaction and gain, for which there are many words, which I will leave to your imagination.
Yes, most of us are being hit economically for many reasons. Food prices keep climbing, but that does not mean we have the freedom to steal. People who sell us food often work for low wages and need their jobs, so they are forced to work. What about their freedom? Are medical staff free to choose who they help? What about their freedom? What about other essential workers and their freedom? And all the people being forced back to work by employers to meet company income needs, personal income needs, and citizens needs, what about their freedom?
People are dying. Health care costs are skyrocketing. Life as we have known has been shutdown. This pandemic is not just about one person wants. It is about all of us … men, women, teens, and children around the world. Leaders are struggling, trying to do their best to help the people they govern. In-fighting is happening in governments. Protesting is an option … but putting the lives of others at risk to do so … the innocent … is not. Right now it may be not be a criminal law, however, it is a crime against humanity to act with such disregard for other life because someone thinks he or she is more important … more valuable than anyone else.
It is time to get a grip on ourselves. It is time to support our nations and fellow citizens. It is time to step up and recognize our global citizenship. We may not like it, but let’s put the present scenario in perspective. We are at war. You have been called to be a soldier and do your part for the greater good of your nation and our global nation.
When enough of us finally grasp this reality, we will all win because we will not have so many people needing to feel more special that they seek to put themselves above all others and in the end, hurt not only themselves, but the people they impact. We will see ourselves truly equally, not slaves to ego and pride, but servants for the greater good, which also enriches our individual worlds too, empowering us with the freedom to be our unique selves that contributes in our unique way … adding versus subtracting to the quality of life of humanity … one person at a time.
KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER
Specialist, Writer, Speaker, Social Entrepreneur, Founder and President
Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle
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May 12, 2020