A writer’s perspective on personal freedoms

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I recently read this on www.everday-education.com and immediatlely emailed the author asking to reprint it here. It was so well written and surprising that it deserves to be shared. Thank you to Moira Allen for kindly allowing me to reprint it here! Please check out her website if you are intereseted in writing at http://www.writing-world.com/ —it is an amazing resource!

This Thanksgiving, my husband and I were deeply aware of the many things we have to be thankful for — chief among them being the fact that we are once again living in the United States.  As most of you know, we spent 15 months in England, pursuing (but not precisely living) a lifelong dream.  Those 15 months made us appreciate so many things that, as Americans, we take for granted.

Freedom, for example.  One thing I’ve always taken for granted is
that if a civil authority (e.g., the police) wishes to enter my
home, a warrant is required to do so, issued by a judge and only on
presentation of “just cause.”  Not so in England!  Any number of
“civil authorities,” including social workers, council
representatives, “wheelie bin police,” and quite possibly the
vegetable seller down the street can legally enter one’s home for
any number of reasons (including things like whether you’re
importing an illegal variety of potato — which admittedly wasn’t
something we worried about overmuch).

The latest furor, however, has arisen over a proposal to allow
authorities to enter the homes of parents who are home-schooling
their children, to “inspect” the premises and ensure that they are
“safe” for this very “vulnerable” segment of the population.
(Apparently a child is considered unsafe in the home only during
“school” hours, as there has been no proposal to invade the homes
of parents who send their children off to a public or private
school.)  But it gets even better; now the British government has
proposed to require any parent who wishes to home-school a child to
undergo a criminal records check, to ensure that the parent has “no
record of violence against children.” (Again, evidently only
parents who choose to teach their own children are considered
potential child abusers; just HAVING a child isn’t enough to arouse
official suspicion… yet.) Oh, and by the way, the parent has to
pay for a criminal records check, to the tune of approximately $300
(last time I looked; it may have gone up by now) — imagine paying
your government just to prove you have the right to educate your
own child!

Did I mention that our beloved newsletter editor home-schools her
daughter?  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a potential criminal
on our staff, one who has already flagrantly defied the law of the
land by swapping child-care with a friend. (Yup, this is illegal in
England, because friends who swap child-care are receiving a
“benefit” for offering such care — that benefit being getting
their OWN child cared for in return — and they are therefore
operating a “business” without a license.  Presumably, too, it’s
illegal to watch your friend’s child without undergoing a criminal
background check — because ANYONE who is involved in any sort of
business or volunteer activity that might get them within 100 yards
of a child must have one!)

So, looking backward, I am thankful beyond words that I live in
this country, which has such interesting little things as a
Constitution and a Bill of Rights.  But what, you may be wondering,
does this have to do with WRITING?  Well, a lot, if you think about
it.

Because writing is, at the most fundamental level, about freedom.
Countries that wish to restrict the freedoms of its citizens
invariably get around to restricting the freedoms of writers.  One
of those things that I DO take for granted is the freedom to write
what I want, without fear of having someone knocking on my door
late at night — or worse, without the fear that someone has a
right not only to knock but to enter, without a warrant or anything
resembling “just cause.”

Governments that don’t like freedom don’t like writers — because
writers have this nasty tendency to tell the world all about what
their governments are doing.  Frankly, I sometimes get tired of our
press complaining nonstop about our government — but I will never
get tired of the fact that the press CAN complain!

There is no power on earth as important as the freedom to be able
to say, and write, whatever you wish.  There is no gift so great
for writers to celebrate in this holiday season as the freedom that
we have, at least in this country, to WRITE.  That freedom means
that we have the power to speak up about things that we don’t like
– and the power to demand and make changes to the world in which
we live.  It is the gift that makes the difference between being
“citizens” rather than “subjects.”  Many of us may never feel the
need to exercise the full power of this gift, but we should never
forget that we have it.  And we should also never forget those who
don’t.

It’s also something that we can pass on.  Whenever you help someone
develop their writing skills — whether it’s your own child, or
total stranger that you’ve met through an Internet writers’ group
– you’re passing on more than just the ability to craft a better
sentence.  You’re passing on a gift of freedom.

Here are some additional links to information that the author suggests might be of interest:

 

http://daretoknowblog.blogspot.com/

 

 

http://kellygreenandgold.wordpress.com/

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About christasterken

Committed to a life of purpose. Learning to live abundantly. Embracing creativity. Questioning. Delighting in the comforts of home and family. Determining not to settle only for how things are, but how they could be. Writing is part of who I am, so I trust In God who gave the gift to show me how I can serve Him through it. That is my life…one word at a time. Psalm 89:11a“Teach me your way , O Lord, and I will walk in your truth”

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