“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” –Abraham Lincoln
As election season heats up and we become more outwardly opinionated on who we think is the best candidate to be the next President, let’s all take a step back for a moment and remember this: in America, we have immense freedom. Freedom to choose. Freedom to form our own educated opinions about people, politics, about anything and everything, really. Freedom to work where we want, to attend a university and choose our major, to wear what we want, to shop where we prefer. We have freedom to voice our opinions, unrestricted, in our workplace, our places of worship, our homes, without having to worry about being arrested for what we believe. We have the freedom to vote without fear of bombs being dropped in retaliation, and we cast our ballots without worrying about rioting. Our political system, disagreements about candidates aside, truly is one of the most diplomatic in modern history and possibly of all time.
There are millions of people around the world who live under incredible restriction and suppression by their government or by dictators, and many may never know even one of the above-mentioned freedoms that we as Americans get to enjoy, day in and day out, sometimes without even giving them a second thought.
The censorship in North Korea would blow your mind. Their hyper-paranoid government controls everything from what North Koreans may watch, listen to and read to the kind of music allowed. They do everything in their power to block out other cultures, new ideas and any information that might stimulate the minds of their citizens to think otherwise from what the government brainwashes them to believe.
China, for more than a decade, has been one of the top three countries in the world to throw journalists into prison for saying anything remotely negative regarding the country, its government, or its policies. This goes for Chinese and international journalists alike; they are equal opportunity jailers.
Authorities in Iran remain one of the most stringent in restricting Internet usage for its citizens. They block millions of websites and try their hardest to block any and all social networking so they can control what their citizens see, read and think.
Citizens in Haiti fear voting on election day because rioting and violent crimes have become so prominent in the country when political issues arise.
Cuba, Vietnam and Burma all hold extremely oppressive censorship laws over their press and their citizens. Anyone accused of saying or publishing something perceived to go against public order, the ruling government or in the interest of foreign policy could find themselves imprisoned, without a trial, without a second chance. Cuba has been one of the worst countries in the realm of press censorship for more than 50 years.
We in America truly have been blessed by the many freedoms we possess. Some freedoms we either take for granted, or don’t even consider a freedom until we realize that so many people go without all that we have. Our freedom did not come by accident, nor has it been easy. Look at the folded flag a widow has on display in her living room, or the field of white crosses in the vast expanse of Arlington Cemetery. Look into the eyes of a WWII veteran from The Greatest Generation, or at the long list of names at the Vietnam War Memorial. You’ll realize our freedoms have been costly. They have been painful. They have been protected by brave men and women who aren’t afraid to stand up for our country at any cost. We are thankful for them and for the freedom it’s afforded all of us.
This election season, let’s stand up together and support the candidate we believe is the most qualified to lead this great nation. Let’s voice our opinions and share our thoughts across social media. But let’s also remember to be thankful for our immense freedom and incredible privilege to do so!
(Information Sources; http://www.poynter.org/2015/report-here-are-the-10-worst-countries-for-censorship/337873/)