I make positive protest posters. They say what I believe, what I want, rather than what I’m against.
One of my signs was “Freedom from Fear,” copyright Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941.
I am for freedom, but not the freedom libertarians talk about, which is no freedom at all, the freedom to die alone and miserable with a gun in your hands. I want freedom that comes from logic and wisdom and connection.
“In future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
“The first is freedom of speech and expression– everywhere in the world.”
Freedom to express one’s political opinions, particularly about the politicians one employs and the job they are doing, without fear of personal attacks in return. We can critique them, that is our right, and they do not critique us. By “us,” I include the press, who are “us.”
“The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his [sic] own way– everywhere in the world.”
Freedom to not be judged by the way one worships, or does not worship. Freedom from judgment for those who desire to become Americans, and are willing to join our secular society.
“The third is freedom from want– which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants– everywhere in the world.”
Freedom from want of health care. Freedom that comes from government ensuring no one profits from another’s ill health.
Freedom that comes from a government that redistributes wealth to decrease crime and illiteracy and addiction and self-destruction of our citizens.
A commitment not to “jobs,” but to the government making its priority to provide education and opportunities to all Americans, not merely those with the money to fund political campaigns.
“The fourth is freedom from fear– which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.”
Freedom from fear of personal attack by our politicians, who work for us. The freedom from fear of assumptions that one’s culture, more than another’s, relies on violence or oppression, when all human cultures include a history of violence and oppression.
Freedom from an obsession with terrorism that stuns and paralyzes our better angels. People go on, through terrorism. They actually do. It isn’t, at least not yet, an atom bomb that would end us all. We work to catch what we can. We accept what we can’t, the cost of a free society.
Freedom from fear as our primary operating system, fear as our primary motivation for our immigration policy, our budget, our votes. The scope of our imagination motivates our immigration policy, our budget, our votes. What could happen? What could we make?
We form our military policy from a sense of protection, and coalition building with our neighbors to make all of us safer. Power distributed more evenly is safer for all.
Freedom from fear that the thirst from political power will trump the safety of our institutions.
“This is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kid of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.”
In our time, the tyranny of the presidency used to make money, to bully, to reel in allies who may think, “We can use him.” Dictators meaning people who take office and show no knowledge, or respect, for our traditions, the office, our branches of government, and the way we want them balanced and respected.
These are what I want, what I dream, what we deserve.
Image: Fireworks Display over Lagoon, from the Chicago World’s Fairs series, Metropolitan Museum of Art.