Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Hanna Shen

Taipei

The US and liberty

Two toddlers play in an open yard, running on its green grass like young hares excited by spring. I was 20, composing photographic literature for a college class. I stood still in front of a low fence, separating their haven and the pavement, and pressed the shoot button on my Nikon F-60-d. A young mom who was sitting, until now unnoticed on the side of a porch, jumped to her feet and huddled her hares toward their house. She loudly protested: “Don’t. You can’t do that on my lawn. What are you doing?” Panic.

“I can shoot photos on a public street,” was my smartass reply. “I’m studying right there,” I pointed toward my campus three blocks away and the mom settled down quickly in the face of the non-threat.

“After the attack, we don’t know what will come next; need to be careful,” she said.

This has become typical across the US. Deep inside, we fear losing a core American value, which might never return: Freedom. It is the only legacy that matters from our Constitution. Our Founding Fathers drafted this simple idea so that we would not bow to any authority or tyranny.

We have been surrendering freedoms to the government, expecting it to take care of us in the name of fighting something. It used to be terrorism, then it was online piracy, then they tapped our e-mails.

We have become a frightened loser, always fearing new consequences. We overreact to defend ourselves. We allow our representatives to draft the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Edward Snowden and the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks provide us with a chance to think again, a blessing in disguise. We did some wrongs. We let our elected officials repeatedly embarrass our constitutional framework. We not only knocked on the door of tyranny, but begged for it. We had time to panic. Now we must arm ourselves with liberty, as free individuals.

Billy Fan

Chicago, Illinois

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