Be Glad that you are Free
Poets have written about the concept. It’s been a favorite subject for songstresses. I’m sure most of us who are of a certain age recall the iconic lyrics sung by Janis Joplin, from “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin' left to lose” – yeah buddy, that’s a brain full there, huh? And I think I can wrap my mind around that concept a bit. Have you ever fought so hard to hold on to something, to cling to it, against all odds and then given up on it after it seems that the world will have its way with you and holding on to this one just ain’t your call? Yeah, I think that’s what Kristofferson was talkin about when he wrote that one. Sometimes our reach exceeds our grasp. Sometimes we want to connect to others but we just can’t make it happen. Nuthin left to lose – yeah buddy – that is true freedom.
I recently watched “Turn: Washington’s Spies” on Netflix. It was a little hard to follow – too many characters, too much time passed between their time and ours, maybe. But as I always do with purported “Historical Fiction” I hit that magical Google button and checked the story. And, per usual, I was surprised at how much they got right. Great story, much like Mel Gibson’s, “The Patriot”, it tells the story of what those people went thru during the American Revolution. Another favorite of mine is “1776” a musical from 1972. All three depictions give a good picture of what many of the players went through in this time period. The period in which the English Colonists, the subjects of King George stood up on their hind feet and decided that freedom was more important to them than keeping what was given to them by the English Monarchy.
They had a lot to lose. They faced incredible odds. It was, in many ways, an insane move. The words of the Preamble to the Constitution are quite famous, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” but I’m kinda partial to these words from the Introduction, immediately preceding the Preamble: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
“Impel them to the separation” … !!! Yeah, a lot like divorce. I know that’s what many of you were thinking. How bout that “dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” thing? I’m really not a constitutional fanatic. But I am fascinated by what makes people come together and what makes them stay separate and where they draw that line. I’ll tell you what, the Colonists – they were goin thru some major shit. There was tyranny, there was abuse, there were issues of allegiance and sovereignty. And a majority of these people decided they would risk their lives – against great odds – to wager on freedom . No. Matter. What The. Cost.
This was a historic move these Colonists made. It’s what we are celebrating here in America. Woohoo – the corporate gravy train is giving us a paid day off – for those of us lucky enough to work for the corporate gravy train. Hey, how can the corporate gravy train afford to do that? [Corporate gravy train representative waves their hand slowly in front of your eyes] and says hypnotically, “These are not the questions you are looking for”.
I watched another movie a few days ago, “The Birth of a Nation”, no not that one. The one from 2016. It was about a slave revolt led by Nat Turner. It did not turn out well for the slaves. I wonder if Nat Turner knew how badly it would turn out, if he would have done anything differently. Freedom vs. slavery or death – now there’s something to ponder.
Well, as that famous philosopher, Tony Soprano, often said, “Whaddayagonnado?” He usually said this when one of his people threw one of the great imponderables of life in his lap – his answer was intended to convey the idea that there was nothing we could do in our position.
So – whaddayougonnado?