Thursday, November 24, 2016

Freedom is Wasted on the Free

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

I am constantly amazed that every four years in America, we have a “Get Out the Vote” campaign. We give ourselves a good pep rally reminding ourselves that “Freedom isn’t free” and “if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain.” We have to convince ourselves to exercise our freedoms, to get off the couch and say something with our one precious vote.

And time and again we see that one vote actually matters.

Well, voting isn’t the only freedom we tend to overlook. The First Amendment gives you the right to say whatever you want, without the fear of persecution. Rather than exercising this freedom by adding to the discourse, we follow the lead of “them.” We bicker on Facebook and Twitter and the news comment feeds. Safe places where we don’t really stand out from the noise, we do what’s expected, and we enjoy a big dose of digital courage.

Its easy to be a critic: you don’t risk anything. Its much harder to stand up and make something new. Making something new puts your skin in the game. Now you are risking the response of critics. 

Your freedom comes with the something so much more precious than the right to critique: you have the chance to add something new. Not just another armchair quarterback. You can create, and share. We have the tools to reach anyone in the world with our ideas, and yet we choose to limit them to arguments with people we “like” on social media. 

It costs us nothing. Anyone can create a public space to share his or her ideas for free, in 15 minutes or less. And everyone should.

Your voice counts. If a kid saying the word “blood” can catch the attention of millions, why can’t your one precious perspective? Consider writing. You can write something and share it with the rest of the world. 

“Conventional Wisdom” is really just a collection of things that we, as a people, repeat often enough that we remember them. You can add to this collected work. But it requires saying something, risking something, rather than just critiquing the thoughts of others.

We need your ideas! Create a blog. Say something new.

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