America Is Not Universally Free

2176 Words Sep 21st, 2016 9 Pages
America is not universally free. This is easily proven with examples from a variety of subjects. For example, take LGBT rights. De jure, gay marriage is legal nationwide. But de facto, when one looks at the social reality dealt with by people who are not heterosexual, one finds that not everyone has the realistic ability to do so. Even on a de jure level, there are the “bathroom bills,” passed by North Carolina and looked at by many states, designed to limit transgender people’s ability to use the bathroom. But even if one deals with that, and all of the other issues of systematic discrimination faced by modern America- race, class, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.- on both a de jure and de facto level, America would still not be universally free. What do I mean by this? Well, firstly I need to be entirely clear about what I mean by freedom. The Oxford English Dictionary defines freedom as “the state or fact of being free from servitude, constraint, inhibition, etc.; liberty.” This is true; however, any reasonable person can determine that that does not even begin to cover what “freedom” really means. There is emotional value in the word that simply cannot be captured by such a clinical definition. When I say freedom, what I really mean is the reasonable ability to make choices about one’s own actions and one’s own life. This does not have to be free from consequence, but it has to be a reasonable possibility on a de facto level. What exactly a…

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