Saturday, December 20, 2008

A simple thought.

I would rather have freedom and crime than oppression and safety.

My Australian friend Jared (a US citizen, but a life-long resident of The Land Down Under) regularly talks about how afraid he is when he travels in America. He worries about our lax gun laws, the constant crime he reads about in international coverage of the US, about the man who was murdered in a fast-food restaurant near the house he was staying at when working for the Obama campaign this fall.

Perhaps I've lived a life sheltered from the realities of the United States. I've never lost a friend to the gunfire that plagues the south side of Chicago; I've never been robbed or gay-bashed or struck by a drunk driver.

But still. When I think of the sort of fear employed against Chinese citizens--the petty, Orwellian brand of Fear that calls for blocking the New York Times website, that gives neighbors the right to spy on each other, that keeps my students silent about the problems they have with their city government, that intoxicates police officers with the power to casually roam through a dry-cleaning business, that permits the guards of my apartment complex to skulk around our buildings and shine flashlights in our windows, I am compelled to trade every exposed political crook, every stray bullet, every out-of-work friend, every bigoted Prop 8 "yay" voter, every desperate pick-pocketer for this foolishness.

1 comment:

Gwendolyn said...

Honey, help me out here...I'm confused!!! Granted, I'm not as sharp these days as when I was as young and beautiful as you are, but correct me if I'm wrong; Isn't the last independent clause of your last complex, compound (not to mention run-on) sentence in direct contradiction to your very first sentence?