I've been thinking about this whole "freedom" thing. It's an interesting idea, right? Freedom to be anything you want to be, to do anything you want to do, to set your goal as the highest goal and go for it, right? But I've been thinking that it's not really that true here in America. We're the Land of the Free, but what does that mean exactly? We are guaranteed Freedom of Religion, which is essentially one of the reasons our country was founded. We are granted Freedom of Speech, and for the most part, I can publish, or say or speak whatever it is I want to say, right? We have the right to privacy, but then the government can listen in on conversations we have over the phone. Some states are requiring ID cards to vote (which takes away our guarantee to vote as US citizens) and now there's going to be a "national ID card" to track our movements all over the country. Seems like less freedom, right? And are we free to get the best education we can get? What if you're born in a poor neighborhood or a region without money? Are you getting the best possible education? Some schools in Philly don't have books. Are you kidding me? An education without books? No computers? No interactive education? What do you think the teachers are like in this area? Not that great because the students are threatening and teachers won't stay for very long. It's usually the green ones that come in and work for a year and then get the hell out. Are we free to marry who we want to? Can my gay friend marry his boyfriend? Only in CA and I am sure that will get challenged over and over and over again. What about the freedom to have a clean environment, clean water and clean air? What about the freedom to afford a house or basic necessities or a car or gas? I realize that even the poorest of the poor here in our country are thousands of times richer than the poor in other countries. But I do know there are people who live without basic needs like running water, electricity, gas, heat on a daily basis right here in Philadelphia. And those numbers are not decreasing, they are increasing. Jobs are being lost left and right, our economy is in the shitter. If even "professional" people like Alex and I cannot afford some things, how are other people handling it? And we're firmly in the middle class when we combine our two incomes. I guess what I am trying to say, in the most patriotic way, is that things need to change. And it needs to start here. At home. In your own backyard. We need to freedom to be who we are and to be able to achieve the dreams we all have. I was lucky to be born where I was when I was to my parents who supported my every step of the way. I've been lucky that I've never been poor, I've never went without a meal, and I've never lived without water or heat or electricity. I've never had to face the challenges a lot of people are facing today. And I wonder....is anyone really free?