I read just recently about a guy that got caught smuggling copies of Netflix’s hit Korean series The Squid Game into North Korea. He was sentenced to death by firing squad! Reading this made me realize I probably have a lot more freedoms living in the United States than I ever would in plenty of other places around the world.
Take my sexuality for example. There are places in this world still that just for being in a same-sex relationship I could be arrested and even put to death. 69 countries in fact have laws that remain in place that criminalize homosexuality. Or take the many different types of religious practices I’ve participated in over the years that range from Pagan to Buddhist to Christian. There are places where I could be arrested and even put to death for some of them. 187 countries in fact have laws that remain that support religious persecution. After doing a little more research on the many freedoms I have as an American, I can honestly say I was surprised, maybe only because I often focus more on all the travesties continuing to happen within our borders. But truly if I look beyond that, there is a considerable number of freedoms I still have here that I wouldn’t elsewhere and I’m sure is precisely why so many refugees flee here.
Take for example how interesting some of the names we give our children in this country. Here you could name your kid “Firecracker” or “Dynamite” if you wanted to, but countries like Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland you are limited on what you can name your kids. Or how about the fact that we can wear what we want when out and about like a person I once knew who regularly wore a squirrel tail around for cosplay purposes. In countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Sudan, and France, wearing the wrong thing can be a punishable offense. And consider the fact that ending relationships and starting new ones through divorce or otherwise in our country is all the common these days, but in places like the Philippines and Malta for example, there are severe restrictions in place that prevent such a thing causing people to have to remain in relationships even if they don’t want to anymore. Even things down to hairstyles is a freedom here, where I’ve seen countless interesting hairdos over the years, but in Iran for example it’s a punishable offense to have a mullet or a fauxhawk! Oh, and I mustn’t forget that what I view on the Internet here is far more expansive than in other countries such as China or Russia who severely restrict what people see on it. And there are plenty of other freedoms that I rarely, if ever, think about as well that range from my ability to chew gum when and where I want to, to my right to defend myself, where doing the opposite for in some places in the world could be considered criminal acts.
The bottom line is that for as much as our country may still have its fair share of problems, as evident in unfair trials and blatant acts of racism that often seem to go unpunished, I still consider it a blessing to be living in this land versus many of the others around the world where many of my freedoms I have wouldn’t be present.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson