Never in my life would I have said that freedom wasn’t a good thing. I was born an American, it’s in my blood to value freedom as one of the greatest things in the world. And yet in that same country, we are not free. We pressure each other to submit to this or this worldview and discount the other side entirely when their idea doesn”t entirely work out, as if this is proof that they are wrong. Wrong as a person, as someone who believes something. Wrong because they, as a person, are not right. Because in our society we have this strange idea that one thing is wrong and one thing is right and that’s just how it is.

Freedom is the ability to be yourself without pressure from others. You cannot force me to believe as you do. Christians cannot make a world of Christians by decrying the actions of others, fundamentalists cannot make heaven on earth by creating hell, Republicans and Democrats cannot make their side dominant by decrying the other side as totally wrong about everything.

The most beautiful thing about every person is their experience and perspective. Each person brings an entirely new perspective to every situation and, my God, how glorious is that? As someone too often trapped by their own perspective, how amazing it is that each person has some knowledge to impart on a situation that is possibly completely different than your own?

Freedom is the ability to express that wonderful thing that is You, Yourself. That wonderful creation. I’ve heard many a Christian tout the wonder that is your individuality. The fact that God cared enough to make you, and to make you just as you are. And more than that, God calls you to be your own fullest self. To “die” for Christ is to receive your own life because when you let go of your own desires and start listening, you find what God really made you to be.

So who wouldn’t fight for the ability to be yourself? Can you really live when you are someone else? No wonder people revolt and fight for freedom, because honestly why wouldn’t you if someone took away You?

The sanctity of You as a person is the reason so many things are important. Equality of the sexes, for one. Objectify someone into something you want them to be, all because it is more convenient for you? Come, come. People are not objects. They are living souls with so many things to offer, so much knowledge to share, so much love to give. We are all people. Full of pain, struggle and love. And we should be free to be ourselves.

I will leave this quote with you from Leonardo Da Vinci. “If this outer body of Man seems to you to be so marvelously worked, consider that it is nothing; next to the soul that formed it. In truth, regardless of what they are, it is always something divine that they embody.*”

*translated by myself. Original quote found in the Clos Lucé. “Si cette dépouille extérieur de l’homme te paraît marveilleusement ouvragée, considère qu’elle n’est rien; auprès de l’âme qui l’a formée. En vérité, quel que soit l’homme, c’est toujours quelque chose de divine que l’homme incorpore.”


Obama at His Best

Watch this. And then take everything he says about peace, and remove everything he says about specifically America. And then make it for everyone. Because that’s what foreign policy should be.

2012 Presidential Election

Last night, I went to a “party” to watch the 2012 Presidential election. I’ve never had an experience quite like it. It was just incredible. I sent in my absentee ballot weeks ago now, the dice for me were cast a long time ago. All that remained was to wait. And drink. And shisha. Haha but BOY did I have to wait. No election results even started to come in until midnight here in good ol’ France. As a result we watched a lot of Jon Stewart and Colbert. And laughed haha.

But once the numbers started coming in, we watched them like hawks. Nothing would even be happening and conversations would just stop. It’s like the Super Bowl except, instead of watching people hitting each other and throwing a ball, we watched percentages and numbers change, states turn blue or red and electoral votes counted.

And every moment made me proud to be an American. For perhaps the first time this study abroad and I’m not saying I haven’t always been proud on that account, but this time. This time I was reveling in the full glory of it.

You see, America will always be about Freedom. Come what may, that value is at the core of our being as a country and I think it will always surge against the attempts to quench it. I realized last night that America is a christian nation. It’s founding principles are, essentially, Protestant. But America is NOT a fundamentalist nation, and I think this is where the Republican party has gotten it wrong recently. Because the truth of it is that America is about FREEDOM. And it always has been. And even if it might take us a while to get there. Freedom is always going to hold true. The religious right might threaten the rest of us with this bill or that bill limiting gay rights, women’s rights, religious rights, whatever. But if you look at Todd Akin, Richard Murdock and the newly-elected, first openly-gay senator for Wisconsin.

You can see that Freedom is going to win.