The Fifth Freedom
(originally posted at Greater Democracy)
On January 6th, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech to congress. These freedoms are: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his [or her] own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Norman Rockwell produced a series of paintings representing these freedoms, and to me, it makes up an important view of America.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these freedoms recently. Yes, I wish to be free from the fear of a terrorist flying a plane into a building where I work, but there are other fears that seem a little more immediate right now. I want to be free from the fear of losing health insurance, or seeing the economy tank so badly that I lose my nest egg.
I want to be free from the fear that someone will come into my daughter’s school and start shooting. I want to be free from the fear that my child could become a victim of exploitation simply by expressing an idealistic love of our country and becoming a page in Congress. I want to know that our leaders will do everything in their power to prevent any future exploitation by holding perpetrators responsible.
Unfortunately, the current administration and congress in Washington is doing little to assuage my fears. They are doing little to make me believe that perpetrators of exploitation against the most vulnerable in our society will be held accountable and brought to justice.
In the most recent congressional scandal, the Republican leadership seems more interested in protecting their own, than in protecting the youth of America. The recent military tribunal legislation appears to be more of the same focusing on protecting members of the administration in the event that their procedures violate war crimes acts than in coming up with procedures that will bring swift justice in a way that restores America’s moral leadership.
So, perhaps there is a fifth fear, the fear that our most vulnerable will be exploited and the exploiters will not be held accountable. It’s a pretty real fear right now.