As a woman, and a labeled “baby boomer”, I have been raised a certain way. I was born and raised in the United States and I do feel that we are one of the better countries on the planet for the freedoms that are endowed to us by our Constitution. I was raised in a lower to middle-income household to two high school teachers. I had a third parent within the household, namely my mother’s father. My grandfather grew up in turbulent times that saw the rise of unions and backlash of the Civil War that eventually came to a head in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. My parents were ‘Depression Era’ babies and the last of the “Greatest Generation” to still be alive today. I am fortunate and thankful, appreciative of my parents for their continued love and support each and every day. I was raised within religion where the norm was ‘every Sunday’ attendance both to Sunday school and main service. I grew up with the exponential advances in technology and the troubles, the good of this earth. I have lived in another country, similar to my own but wholly different. I am though, with all these labels, still on the cusp of the ‘adrift’ generation. Those that have the knowledge and facts about our country and its rights as well as a greater awareness of the world. I have a problem.
I do not know whether it is because of my upbringing, immersed in three unique sociocultural, physical and natural environments or abject fear of reprisals, rejection, loss of job, loss of friends and so forth that I do not conscientiously exert my first amendment rights; the freedom of speech. I know I have a responsibility. I know I am a steward on this planet but still there are times, I want to voice my opinion but am stymied by my lack of faith in my cultural upbringing, in society that clamps my mouth shut, stills my pen, and thrust me into a subconscious of torture of my own making. I want to rail against injustice but fear of losing a job or even job prospects. I want my voice to be heard and yet, could feel the vicious backlash of fellow humans, warranted or not. These internal strifes still my tongue and silences the typing of my fingers. Yet, here I am voicing that pent-up desire to attain the freedom from fear and retribution that yes, was instilled by my parents. I was never supposed to make ‘waves’ and that has caused me great emotional turmoil.
As with every human on this planet, I trust my instincts one moment and question them the next. I have great expectations for those around me and yet, come face-to-face with cruelty and goodness at least once a day, even if it is delivered through different social means. There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I too curse in my car, behind closed doors the stupidity of humanity. I know we have inched closer to the precipice and are looking down into a deep cavernous abyss. At times, I wish we would just get it over and jump, take a leap of faith and evolve. I can feel the tug of war and just want to scream. I don’t understand my role in all of this. Am I part of the crowd or one that is supposed to lead? I know I am keeping several cards of this poker game close to my chest and feel I should show my hand, make a decision and take what is to come.
I hate clichés.
I hate the curtain I am hiding behind, where my voice is silent and my writing, my thoughts are hidden away. Well, not completely but I fear even this medium and how the world will judge its content if I shift gears and post what I really want to post. Beyond my teaching, beyond my thoughts on research. If I post as a pseudonym, I can still be found and probably will or have been found out. What will happen if I crank it up a notch. Maybe I should realize and come to terms that I am not supposed to be liked by everyone. That my opinion counts and delivered with the aforementioned responsibility. I should exercise my First Amendment rights. Why else did our Founding fathers, particularly James Madison, make that at the top of the list if not to hold the right to speak up with due diligence and logic against what you deem as wrong, “iffy”.
I know they were framing that amendment to political and religious expression but Madison address of July 8, 1789, delves into more and yes, leaves open the window for continued debate.
Fourthly. That in article 2nd, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit,The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience by in any manner, or on any pretext infringed
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.
I am struck by the composition and the language, awed that our discourse over time has changed from such prose. I understand my ignorance, lack of true intelligence and that I exist in a poverty of my own making. That perhaps every one on this planet does in varied forms. And that sparks a grief of emotions. So what do I do?
For now I write…