Personal Freedom is a Choice

The May 23rd edition of the Wall Street Journal held a remarkable statement by Cuban poet and human-rights activist Armando Valladares  when accepting the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s Canterbury Medal in New York recently.

He was of course speaking mainly to the brutal political oppression of the Castro regimen and on the dangers of creeping tyranny, but on a deeper level too about the dangers of how a mind can become polluted and actually imprison itself.

Says Mr. Valladres,

When I was 23 years old I did a very small thing. I refused to say a few words, “I’m with Fidel.” First I refused the sign on my desk that said as much, and after years of torture and watching so many fellow fighters die, either in body or in spirit, I persisted in my refusal to say the few words the regime demanded of me.

My story is proof that a seemingly small act of defiance can mean everything to the enemies of freedom. They did not keep me in jail for 22 years because my refusal to say three words meant nothing. They kept me there that long because it meant everything.

For me to say those words would have been spiritual suicide. And though my body was in prison and abused, my soul was free and flourished. My jailers took everything from me, but they could not hijack my conscience.

Even when we have nothing, each person and only that person possesses the keys to his or her own conscience, his or her own sacred castle. In that respect, each of us, though we may not have an earthly castle or even a house, each of us is richer than a king or queen.

For many of you, particularly the young people, it may seem I come from another time and from a remote place. Young friends, you may not be taken away at gunpoint, as I was for staying true to my conscience, but there are many other ways to take you away and to imprison your body and your mind. There are many ways you can be silenced.

I warn you: Just as there is a short distance between the U.S. and Cuba, there is a very short distance between a democracy and a dictatorship where the government gets to decide what we believe and what we do. And sometimes this is not done at gunpoint but instead it is done one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one silencing at a time. Beware young friends. Never compromise. Never allow the government—or anyone else—to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to have to do.”

Such profound words that only a dissident used to abuse could utter.  I particularly liked what he says about each of us being richer than a king or queen even when we have nothing.

Since the beginning, man has always tried to control one another.  Some use physical force, some the power of government and others words that bring shame and fear.  The most devastatingly effective ones manipulate people in to imprisoning themselves by convincing them they are not worthy of living in freedom; that they were born a victim and will always be one. The “victim” then misses completely the awesome gift of life they have and their ability to forge and shape it as they please.

It’s easy to forget the freedoms we have in America today.  We can pretty much do or say what we want but there are those that would have us forget this. They want us to believe we are being held back by some societal oppressor; an “ism” that forever prevents us from reaching our full potential.  With this view, everyone and everything becomes an oppressor, something to be offended by and fight against.

This is the worst type of bondage because it causes individuals to lose their ability to honestly look themselves and change where needed.  Ironically this only creates more victims while reducing liberty for all of us, as the government happily steps in as savior and increases its fat footprint over our lives.

Freedom is like the air that surrounds us; lifesaving but not noticeable until it’s taken away.  Pay attention America, before it’s too late.

 

 

This entry was posted in entitlememt mentality, income inequality, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Personal Freedom is a Choice

  1. Mike Hohmann says:

    Great post, Tricia… and your take-away is spot on! There’s no ‘free lunch’ regardless what they tell you. They don’t really have your back! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Al says:

    This is an incredible story. In his paragraph “I warn you” this hero really validates item #10 of my 14 immutable laws of politics: https://politicalprisms.wordpress.com/my-immutable-laws-of-politics/.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Yes Al, he really does. And thanks for the link, really good stuff there. I especially liked the 6th rule, “Liberal politicians in power will always create a “perceived” crisis to divert attention away from failed policies. They will then urge you to keep them in office to “right the wrong.”

      Like

  3. Dennis says:

    “Political correctness” steals your liberty.
    Get armed get trained and protect your liberty and your family! Do it now and don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. You may not like the price you have to pay for your very limited freedom and liberty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. archaeopteryx1 says:

    I agree with Valladares – I cringe everytime I see another Republican effort to enforce legislation that would make America a “Christian Nation”!

    Like

  5. This was well said and chilling, too, It can be so hard to get Americans to understand because we’re so complacent, freedom is all most of us have ever known. On the bright side, we’re also very entitled, annoying for sure, but it makes us much more difficult to control, a bit like trying to herd cats.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tricia says:

      It is more than a bit chilling IB to think how far down the road we’ve turned from a government focused on preserving individual l liberty to one that continually gorges on on our freedoms in pursuit of more power. Herding cats is never easy, Lord knows I’ve tried! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Citizen Tom says:

      They are trying to herd us by using that sense of entitlement. Doesn’t everyone want to be a member of the master race or the leadership of the proletariat?

      Eventually, our dear leaders will find a group to abuse and terrorize. Then they will declare that anyone who wants to remain entitled must join in the “fun.”

      In Nazi Germany, the entitled would have had the Fuhrer’s picture up on the wall. They would have spoken approvingly of his leadership, including his treatment of the Jews, the Gypsies, the homosexuals, those with birth defects, and so on.

      Every totalitarian state creates a sense of entitlement in the slave masters. Every totalitarian state creates an enemy of the “people,” but the real enemy is in our own hearts.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. madblog says:

    Excellent Tricia. You see what’s what. I’ve been noticing that there’s a growing list in my head, a compilation of the things I know I will not say, and which may one day get me in trouble. Passively going along is not good enough in this intolerant culture. We will all be challenged in one way or another on our “orthodoxy”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I find that very true madblog what you say about a growing list of things that you know cannot be said because it will unleash a load of trouble. That’s how it starts you know, soon enough I fear there will be force to back up those verbal threats. Not good but I am glad there are plenty of people like yourself aware of this. Thanks for coming by.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. People like Armando Valladares and Nelson Mandela who spent decades of their lives in prison yet remained free in their hearts and minds are really giants among men.

    Liked by 2 people

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      How long were you in for, SOM?

      Like

      • ColorStorm says:

        @arch
        So if I asked you if you were ever convicted for killing the ten giraffes and a hippo in a zoo……….this would mean nothing? Others would not wonder if this was true? Or is it simply the QUESTION itself that gives wings to character assassination…….and suggests YOUR moral superiority?

        Btw, as this post suggests, many a good man is in prison. John Baptist comes to mind, because of the troubled consciences of OTHERS.

        @tricia
        Fat footprint. Sad but all too true. Great passionate pleading and post.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          Well said ColorStorm, but wasted I’m afraid on swine,

          Like

          • ColorStorm says:

            Hi trish-
            I completely appreciate the genius of that adage: answer or don’t answer foolishness………both are valid, just sprinkle in a bit of wisdom.

            Your respite is understood, and here you are, back with refreshment. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tricia says:

            Thanks CS. 🙂 I have had so much going on as you can imagine and on top of it I am moving this weekend! Not much free time to read and comment on my favorite blogs unfortunately but this should change for the better soon. I have plenty of catching up to do at the Lion’s Den I’m sure!

            Liked by 1 person

          • ColorStorm says:

            Hope you have lots of friends to help you with the move! No easy task there.

            But to borrow that nice voice of Tom Bodett, ‘we’ll leave the light on for ya……’ lol

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tricia says:

            Plenty of help, I am greatly blessed to have it. And you better leave that light on! 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Swine? When was I ever rude to you, Trish?

            Like

          • Tricia says:

            Swine meaning not a pig (I don’t think you are that), but one who refuses to even acknowledge the significance of the pearl another is trying to give him, whether or not he agrees with its concept.

            Liked by 1 person

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            A swine IS a pig, using the word metaphorically doesn’t change its definition.

            Like

        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          Knowing, CS, that you live in the dark, I’ll enlighten you. I knew SOM long before I ever had the misfortune of meeting you, and on another site, he admitted to having been in prison, so there is no “character assassination” involved when you’re discussing something which is common knowledge.

          Like

    • Tricia says:

      Indeed they are Silence.

      Like

  8. Pingback: MAKING AN IDOL OF REASON — PART 3 – Citizen Tom

  9. Pingback: My Article Read (6-6-2016) – My Daily Musing

  10. Pingback: My Article Read (6-6-2016) – Br Andrew's Muses

  11. Canuck Carl says:

    I am so amazed with people such as Armando Valladares. To stand for your conscience and be that strong despite being imprisoned and tortured for the 22 years of the prime of his life is beyond my grasp. I don’t how he can do it. Would I buckle under the torture or missing my family and loved ones?

    Conscience and the human spirit is so powerful, and when unbroken and unbending it can makes changes that might not come otherwise.

    hank you for sharing Tricia!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I love what you say Carl about conscience and the human spirit. One truly never knows what one is capable of until pushed to the limit. I, like you would question my ability to withstand such tremendous physical and emotional pain.

      Thanks for coming by Carl! I am very, very far behind in visiting your wonderful blog. Things should be back to semi normal soon here though and I look forward to catching up on your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Canuck Carl says:

        Thanks Tricia. In reading the comments above I understand you had a move. Hope it really went smoothly for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I love what you say Carl about conscience and the human spirit.

        We never know how high we are
        — Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886 —
        .
        We never know how high we are
        Till we are called to rise;
        And then, if we are true to plan,
        Our statures touch the skies—

        Liked by 2 people

        • Tricia says:

          What a lovely poem Arch, thank you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            You’d like Dickenson – she has such a bad reputation for writing about death, but only when viewed by those unfamiliar with the entire body of her work. Living her entire life on that little farm, she saw such beauty in the smallest things.

            I think this is one of her best:

            I’m nobody! Who are you?
            Are you nobody, too?
            Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
            They’d banish you know!

            How dreary to be somebody!
            How public like a frog
            To tell one’s name the livelong day
            To an admiring bog!

            — –Emily Dickinson —

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tricia says:

            Ha, I do like that!

            Like

  12. Pingback: My Article Read (6-13-2016) – My Daily Musing

  13. Pingback: One of My Favorite Blogs – The Praetorian Writers Group

  14. Pingback: On Strike | Freedom Through Empowerment

Respectful comments always welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s