Today is the fourth day of July. Generally, it is a day of bands, flags, concerts, and celebrations. But today, in my little town, all is quiet. Our famous fourth of July parade has dwindled to a quick parade of motor vehicles. Many of the townspeople are on the fence about whether or not the parade should be happening, for everyone’s safety of course. I am eager for the parade to be aired on television, so we can see what the audience participation is like. Hopefully, everyone is maintaining social distance.
I try to write a blog post every year about the fourth of July. The theme, as you can imagine, is always freedom. After a few years of writing the same thing, the posts tend to get a little dry. And part of me wishes I could have the opportunity to write that dry blog post again. But 2020 will allow me to write a very different one. Freedom means something very different to me this year. You might be able to predict why.
In March, we were forced into home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter Phase III in our little state, I am glad to be able to just walk into a Target store and browse for whatever I want! What freedom!! It is a silly thing, the freedom to shop retail, but still, it is nice. I was annoyed that most of the shopping had to be done online and I was restricted to the items and prices that were available. Which were limited and expensive, by the way! I like the freedom to shop around and that was not the case during lockdown! I noticed that even the local supermarket prices were way up. It was very frustrating.
2020 (and the past few years) have brought lots of important matters into people’s homes and minds via the news and social media. Some of the biggest, most recent items have been Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. It’s also brought out a lot of hate and violence, which is unfortunate. It is often said that these are not political movements. They are not, but some people certainly take it to that level. While I believe black lives matter and women are equal to men, I don’t believe anyone should be bullied into making public statements so quickly, without having time for research, learning, discussion, and healing. I appreciate the people who share their personal stories at rallies. That is so helpful. What is not helpful is finger-pointing and villainizing an individual or company. Help educate them instead. And allow me (and everyone) the freedom to form our own opinions by doing research, and that means not only reading REAL resources (not Facebook page comments) and listening to people’s stories. I recently watched the Netflix special about Jeffrey Epstein called Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. I had no idea how serious the crimes this man was committing were. It was disgusting. I was amazed and disgusted to hear the media introduced one of the female victims as a former prostitute. Talk about bias. The truth was most of these girls were already victims of sexual abuse, which is essentially what made them easy targets. That is helpful information to know because most viewers probably wonder why these young women could not have used better judgment.
I digress! So what IS freedom to you? Certainly, everyone will have a different opinion, especially this year!! Mine is still the freedom to make my own choices. Freedom to access, read, and retain the resources that are true and unbiased so I can make educated decisions. Many days, after spending a few moments on Facebook, I wish others felt the same as I do. Misinformation and hate spread like wildfire on social platforms, and it is disgusting. Do your due diligence!! It is your right! You are free to do it, so do it.