Silly of me to ask, right? Because after all you and I are free citizens, and by golly we tell ourselves this every Fourth of July. When compared to the brutality of life in parts of Africa and Asia, we’re right. You and I can vote, own a home, and travel where we wish.
Without taking away one glitter of our golden American citizenship, a sharper look can reveal a pair of chains which enslave every one of us in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways. These have to do with (1) our pocketbook (2) our mind.
* When it comes to our pocketbook, the fiscal facts have been around not only since we became a nation, but ever since there were nations. You see, that ‘One Percent’ battle cry you hear is simply another way of complaining the way the average citizen has been complaining from the days of chieftains, kings and pharaohs; right up to today’s days of riots in the streets of Egypt, Pakistan and Syria. When the Bible predicted the poor will always be with us, the flip side is the rich-and-powerful will too. Now they just go by other names and means like Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Exxon, General Motors and China. Bottom line, these are the fiscal chains that really decide how much you earn, pay interest, acquire a mortgage, or get to send your kids to college.
Oh, and you thought all those were a result of your best visions and hard work! Well….
* When it comes to our mind whose freedom we say we treasure most, the funny facts of the matter are that they too are ‘chained.’ Really. Not so as you can see and feel it, but here’s the way this works. Those ‘free independent thoughts’ of yours and mine are rarely the proud result of intensive personal reading, research and reflection. Time and proven time again, ‘our thoughts’ are more likely the embarrassing result of our quickie scanning, watching and reacting to the last person reporter, politician, or expert who just impressed us with ideas we will soon decide are are very own.
My fellow proud and free American, this is not grousing. Simply noticing something about you and me we kinda like to ignore. Slavery in America ended with Lincoln’s 13th amendment. But the great emancipator never laid a hand on the ‘chains’ that have always held our pocketbook and our mind. Something to think about between thinking about other people’s thinking….
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