Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
-Toni Morrison, shared by Sara in Madison, WI
Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.
-Alexis de Tocqueville, shared by Karen in Oakland, CA
As those of us here in the U.S. recognize our Independence Day, I know many Ripplers will be off celebrating and not tending to email inboxes. Still, whenever July 4th lands right on Monday I like to focus on the theme of freedom. Over the past few weeks I scribbled down a few thoughts and notions. I invite you to light a sparkler, pour a glass of lemonade, and ponder:
Freedom is worth celebrating;
Freedom is worth contemplating.
Freedom is a right;
freedom is also a responsibility.
We sometimes take freedom for granted,
and we don’t always take it seriously.
We tend to notice when it seems like someone else is restricting our freedoms more quickly than we are to notice the ways we might be restricting someone else’s freedoms.
There are times when our own freedom should be protected at all costs.
There are other times when we need to invest time and energy to help extend freedoms outward so more people can experience them.
There are times when individual freedoms are in conflict with our collective freedom.
This last one is especially tricky, especially since some people tend to prioritize individual freedoms, while others place a higher value on collective freedom. I believe it is less a matter of who is *right* and more a matter of figuring out how to live and lead in a society where about half of the people tend to hang out in one camp and about half of the people are in the other. We haven’t (yet) figured out how to mediate these conflicts, and I still believe that our best chance of moving forward as a country and as a species is to take some deep breaths and come back to the table so we can try again to find our way through together.
May our freedoms ring (and ripple, too!).