“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
- Thomas Jefferson
Freedom is never beautiful.
Here we are, free people, talking about freedom as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. We render freedom in symbols like peaceful protests, leaders smiling towards the rising sun, peace signs and peace symbols, and the dove flying with an olive branch in its beak. Freedom; beautiful freedom.
By freedom we mean what, exactly? Before we claimed freedom for ourselves, those before us fought for it. We paint and sculpt our heroes in the pink of health, we sanitize them with determined eyes and imposing poses, but fail to render the bullet-wounds, the fatigue, and the starvation that came with their fight so that we can be free. We put smiling faces on spectators and participants of revolution, but fail to paint the ugly backgrounds of squalor and poverty and hopelessness that forced them to revolt. We herald free speech, we declare free expression, and forget that these freedoms we invoke often cause people to lose their jobs and livelihood and, very often, their lives.