Are We Truly Free to Be Individuals?

Haylee Harrell, Reporter

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As a country, the United States is famous for its groundbreaking policies on individual freedom. From freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition, to the right to keep and bear arms and the right to due process of law, the U.S. truly backs up the statement, “the land of the free.” Fast forward 242 years, and while the government still upholds these freedoms, our society and our culture have not.

Author Alan Macmillan Orr asks a question that should be asked by every person in his book, The Little Book of Life. “Do I think as an individual, or is my thinking a result of the collective culture of the country I inhabit?”

Political Correctness (P.C.) culture has taken over. We are no longer free thinkers. If someone has an individual thought or opinion, P.C.’s effect causes them to question their own feelings. Who could this offend? Is a question I find myself asking daily. We should not have to filter our beliefs because they do not line up with the majority or what is “politically correct.”

For a society that celebrates individuality, are we truly allowing people to be individual?

Homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals, are applauded for being “individual” and having the courage to declare their sexual orientation. I can’t imagine the insurmountable amount of courage it would take to declare your ‘unconventional’ sexuality to the world. And though I commend anyone who has proudly pointed their middle fingers and declared their freedom to love who they choose, it is almost, as a country, that we have drawn a line in the sand. Either your opinions line up with the public’s and you’re a saint, or they don’t and you’re a monster. We are so quick to judge those who do not share the majorities point of view. There’s a double standard.

However, it’s not okay to bully or be physically violent towards who don’t see eye-to-eye with you. There is a line between disagreeing with something and intentionally persecuting those who do agree.

Let’s say Sally is a Christian and does not think homosexuality is right based on the Bible’s writings, but she has no ill will and no prejudice towards homosexuals. Is she homophobic? The definition of homophobic is: having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people. Sally has no dislike, nor prejudice, against homosexuals – and yet, Sally would be labeled as “homophobic.” People like Sally are commonly criticized or labeled as cruel and callous.

In a country that’s free, why aren’t we allowing people to be free thinkers?

Human sexuality is not the only area we encounter this all-or-nothing attitude. As a female growing up in the 21st century, I am blessed with the rights and freedoms to make my own choices. I can choose to go to college, get a job, fall in love, get married, not get married or to have kids. The possibilities are virtually endless. However, not all people are as thankful for these new rights as I am. Many people still believe that a woman’s sole purpose in life is to get married, have kids, keep the house clean and make dinner every night.

Sexist, am I right? Wrong. For the people who see this as a woman’s role, they honestly have just grown up believing that is the way life is. And for the people who think this way, that is their reality. Ladies, in the “Me too” culture we live in, it’s easy to see someone who believes this and label them as sexist. It’s easy, but unacceptable.

Everyone who disagrees with you is not wrong. Everyone is allowed to think what they want, feel what they want, love who they want.

Stand up for what you believe in, but keep an open dialogue about these issues. Because, the fact of the matter is, who cares if people disagree with your beliefs, they are yours. And that’s enough.