Thursday, April 24, 2014

Desperado

If I had to pick one song that is my number one favorite of all time, it would probably be this one:


The whole thing is packed with wisdom, but think about this line for a moment.
Freedom, oh freedom, well that's just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone.
I initially fell in love with this song when I had come to care very deeply for a young woman I was working with in a group home who was experiencing all the pain and hunger that come with being a desperado. She, like many other teenagers, clouded her pain in a desperate cry for freedom.

But I think we can broaden the application of this song and think about it as a lament for much of our political discourse these days. We're constantly subjected to cries from the libertarians and conservatives about "FREEDOM." I don't necessarily have a problem with that. But as an emphasis that excludes our need (as human beings) for each other, it is just another prison of its own kind.

This is a theme to which President Obama constantly returns.
We, the people — recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only, what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.
Whatever name we chose to give it: citizenship, empathy, ubuntu,  e pluribus unum, expanded moral conscious - I believe that this is the defining issue of our time. The cultural march towards individualistic independence that was once a healthy development is beginning to show its limits. Its time to climb down from our fences and open the gate.

And so I say to America: You better let somebody love you, before its too late.

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