Doing Freedom Essay

3262 words - 13 pages

In J.R.R. Tolkien's classic epic of good against evil, The Lord of the Rings, evil incarnate took the form of Sauron, the Dark Lord (of the Rings). In our world, evil is more complicated--one could only wish that it could be banished by the simple expedient of tossing an evil ring into a volcano!--but the metaphor of the rings still fits modern times. The three rings must be the three-ring circuses of our bi-cameral parliaments and their presidents, the nine could be our supreme courts, and the seven might be our special interests and their subterranean machinations. And the One Ring? That would be the Ring of Power itself--the glittering, fool's gold bauble for which all participants in the great game of politics strive: POWER. But, like the brass ring held just out of reach of merry-go-round riders, power is not true gold, nor is it the prize that all those who lie, cheat, steal, and kill for it think it is. And like the One Ring of power in Tolkien's books, this false god corrupts all who take hold of it, or even just lust for it.Rhetoric, you say? Is it rhetoric that in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" the president can get caught red-handed perjuring himself before the whole nation, and not one of the great lords of power, even among those who claim to oppose him, is free enough of the same taint to remove him? Does not even the small amount of power given to the average foot soldier corrupt him or her so that, from the new wars in the Balkans back to the Trojan wars, so-called atrocities are the norm rather than the exception in the "splendid game" of war? From traffic cop down to tin-plated dictator, do not those with power swagger with false pride and take pleasure in the subjugation of those they rule?Consider the case of AIDS and cancer patient Peter McWilliams. In the country that first gave the highest recognition to the universal human right of free speech, the state responded to Peter's words of criticism by sacking his house on December 17, 1997, and stealing his computer, his notes, and the manuscript for an almost completed book. Demoralized but undefeated, Peter continued to defend, with words, the medicinal drug he claimed was saving his life: marijuana. By direct action of the people, the state in which Peter lives, California, legalized the medical use of marijuana (it had to be an action of the people; those who rule would never give up so formidable a tool for oppression as the War on Some Drugs). In the land that gave birth to the greatest experiment ever in rule of law rather than rule of men, those in power responded with threats against any and all who would make use of the new law--the law, mind you. Peter obeyed the law in his state, and they threw the book at him. On July 23, 1998, the ferals sent a goon squad out to arrest him. They rousted him in the wee hours of the morning, even though he'd agreed to turn himself in if they ever needed him, and hauled him off without his medicines--not even the...

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