Are You Wasting Your Freedom?
On a recent trip to Washington DC, I made it a point to visit the National Mall, specifically to visit the memorials. Seeing the reflection of a Korean War veteran as he observed the Korean War Veterans Memorial wall moved me to tears. As I turned to gain composure, my eyes caught the wall behind me that stated, “Freedom Isn’t Free.”
With a father who was a prisoner of war in WWII, I am grateful to the men and women who have fought for our rights as Americans, including our freedom of speech. It’s something I never take for granted, especially considering how in some parts of the world, speaking your truth can cost you your life.
Thankfully, those of you reading this article are free to speak your truth. Yet, too many of us still don’t say what needs to be said with clarity and tact because it makes us feel uncomfortable. Too many of us complain over what little power we have in a situation, rather than using the power we have to go after what we need to live the life we desire. It’s time to dig deep, be brave and stand in your truth.
Need inspiration? Malala Yousafzai, who at 17, was recently the youngest recipient ever of the Nobel Peace Prize, can show us the way. The Pakistani teen, an activist for female education, was on her way to school two years ago when a Taliban gunman boarded the school bus, asked for her by name and shot her because of her outspoken advocacy for education for women, which the Taliban oppose. She survived the assassination attempt and has grown to international prominence as she continues focusing on the right to education for all children.
Without sounding flippant, if Malala can stand up to the Taliban, then certainly you can find a way to approach your supervisor, colleague, friend, relative or partner over something that needs to be addressed.
We in the West have such a gift in our freedom of speech. During this season of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for our service men and women. And, I’m grateful to you, my loyal readers.
Remember, freedom isn’t free. Many paid a huge price for our freedom of expression. Together, let’s speak our truth with courage, clarity and conviction.