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Born Free But at a Price

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You could try to find ways to be happier/You might end up somewhere in Ethiopia/You can think big with your idea/You ain't never gonna find utopia/Take a bite out of life make it snappier yeah/Ordinary gon super trippyer
Born Free — M.I.A.

Genocide in America, could it ever happen? That’s the questioned thrown into your face by the video and song “Born Free” by rapper and British native M.I.A.

To say the least, the video is controversial; a group of young, red-headed, pale-skinned boys are rounded up in violent fashion by a police force bearing the American flag on their shoulders. The group is taken out to a desert compound in what appears to be Arizona and told to run. When the group doesn’t immediately respond, the youngest boy amongst them is shot in the head, and the group takes off only to find they’ve entered a mine-field.

A mind-field is indeed what we have here. It’s hard to imagine an American society so devolved as to allow some sort of ethnic-based genocide. But what about a more subversive genocide, a genocide of a political nature?

While still a stretch, it’s not too hard to imagine in today’s climate some sort of political conflict amongst the American citizenry erupting into a full on civil war. My fear is that the Blue and the Red will make the Blue and the Gray seem like a minor conflagration.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or anyone with a degree in history, to realize that with the current economic depression, the unrest amongst citizens, and the overall disdain for government, nearly everyone, the left and the right, feels that conditions are ripe for some sort of upheaval. Our uncivil discourse and disdain for those who hold opposing views is a festering stew of bile choking the civility out of our society and pushing us closer and closer to the edge.

So how do we pull back? How do those of us on the right reconcile our views with those of us on the left to form a more perfect union?

 

It would seem to me that we must start within ourselves. We must be sure of our opinions but not be so narrow minded in our views so as to exclude those who disagree with us. Our representative democracy is a messy way to do things. It’s fraught with the foibles of accepting the idea that free speech implies conflict of oppinion.

I always wonder about those who would simply shout-down anyone else who disagrees with them. Are you so weak in your position or do you have such little faith in the intelligence of those around you that your ideas can’t withstand an opposing view?

I’m reminded of the recent troubles with Bill Ayers' proposed speech at the University of Wyoming. Such vitriol leveled at the man and the University. Think what you will of the man, hold fast your belief, but just as you have a right to hear, read and seek out those who agree with your views, so does the other side. And by extension, are not your views strengthened by the views of the other side? Are not there more people who might find there way to your way of seeing things after hearing such words?

Perhaps. Perhaps not, but the whole point of free speech is that by and large, all speech should be heard, even that with which we disagree. And while letting someone of the stature of Bill Ayers speak may be a bitter pill to sallow, to ensure that everyone has the same right, I would recommend you follow that pill with a strong chaser.

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

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