Varieties of dangerous freedom

Dear President Trump,

This afternoon on our way home from the walking the dogs in the nearest shady park we pulled up behind a pick-up with a Marine Corp emblem and a sticker that read “I Prefer Dangerous Freedom to Peaceful Slavery.” I agree. True freedom is dangerous and many of us are all too apt to be lulled into comfy cozy suffocating existences. We prefer order and predictability and never question whether we are really living lives that are engaged and meaningful or lives that are enslaved and enslaving. We are too busy checking our phones or figuring out how to look good on social media to stop and question whether we are settling for peaceful slavery or daring to court dangerous freedoms. So, I appreciate the challenge to examine and re-examine my life for vestiges of peaceful slavery.

Unfortunately, though, the sticker was fraught for me because in between the freedom and the slavery lines was a silhouette of an AK-47. Apparently for the person who owns that truck, freedom rests on the ability to kill others with an automatic weapon. I think this is probably how a lot of people in the United States feel — they believe they must protect their freedoms with guns. Laura and I talked about it as we watched the pick-up speed on ahead and we agreed it is far more courageous for us to be out and living freely in our community as lesbians and as mothers to our daughter than for someone to claim freedom because he owns an automatic rifle. I also think it is far more courageous for people to insist on justice and to do so peacefully than for people to walk around in public with weapons in holsters or carrying lit torches yelling hateful slogans. Yes, they are able to frighten people and get to feel powerful in a “no one is going to mess with me” sort of way and it must be exhilarating to be in those crowds and to finally feel free to say what you want without any fear of sanction or admonishment. But this sort of dangerous freedom is ultimately just as soul crushing and suffocating as peaceful slavery since it is based on hate and fear, which really have nothing to do with true freedom.

May we all be truly safe to live freely.
May we all be happy for everyone to live freely.
May we all be healthy enough to make space for everyone.
May all our lives unfold and intersect with grace.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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