Senator and presidential-hopeful, Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) website is adorned with symbols of the United States. Red, white and blue stripes line the pages as one scrolls down to take a look at his values and stances on many of the hot-button issues.
If you click on The Constitution, you’ll find a long list of the first few liberties given to us in the Bill of Rights. Teddy, like the many Teddies before him, tends to find the word "liberty" one of the most American words; it’s almost comparable to "Bruce Springsteen" or "apple pie" or even "Nicolas Cage’s 'National Treasure'" (that movie is a national treasure).
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On the other side of the partisan aisle, sits a cute, little old man named Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont). Bernie was a running member of the Liberty Union Partyin the 1970s. He lost a lot, and the political party never became more than a scuff on the shoe of our bi-partisan system. However, the most perplexing thing is how askew his hair is, but how much does he believe in liberty with the liberty he gives his hairstylist?
Okay, okay, Sanders has said before to The Guardiannewspaper, “What we have seen is that while the average person is working longer hours for lower wages, we have seen a huge increase in income and wealth inequality, which is now reaching obscene levels. This is a rigged economy, which works for the rich and the powerful and is not working for ordinary Americans ... You know, this country just does not belong to a handful of billionaires.”
That seems like he’s looking out for the little guy (I speak only for me, I’m sure Bernie speaks for Schwarzenegger and the trees)! That is liberty, right? But, Bernie is a big government man which isn’t very liberating for the little guy.
To understand what liberty really mean, we’ll be throwing it back like it’s Thursday on my cousin Melissa’s Instagram.
John Locke defined “liberty” in his work the "Second Treatise of Civic Government" as the follows, “Mankind, who would but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions.” That literally sparked America. John Locke made a proverbial lightbulb flicker on inside the heads of our Founding Fathers and made them think, Hey, this guy ... this guy knows what he’s talking about.
Throwing it even further back, Aristotle believed that "liberty"is the underlying and most pivotal part of democracy (*cue bald eagle screech*). He believed there were two definitions according to "Politics"by Aristotle; they used a lot of catchy titles for their rhetoric, my favorite is Plato’s "Up,"a loving story about a young boy, an old man and his pet chimera.
Liberty, to Aristotle, was either 1. An equal exchange between those governed and the governors or 2. Free for all. This was the basis of Locke’s philosophies, too.
Then, be-bopping his way into the American heart was John Rawls in the late '70s. He had this crazy idea that liberty should be fair. Simply speaking, everyone should have an equal amount of freedom to do whatever the hell he or she wanted. That seemed great until the long-haired, starry-eyed parents of ours (oh silly, Mom and Dad) found out that it's impossible to be unbiased in reference to liberty.
So, here we are: a freedom eagle without feathers. What does liberty mean?
It seems like liberty is a concept that nobody truly knows the definition of, but when there is a dictionary, there is a way. Merriam-Webster defines liberty as “the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely.”
Oh, that makes a lot of sense. So, underneath Lady Liberty — I don’t mean underneath her dress, I mean her bronze respiratory system — there is an inherent idea of freedom (*cue bald eagle riding a Harley Davidson*) where people are allowed to do whatever they want within reason.
So, the debate is the “within reason” part. Does Lady Liberty have a heart? In this country today with everything from the outrageous dealings with race, economic inequality and injustice on the whole, it seems that Lady Liberty may not be what my grandparents thought she was while they floated on their little potato schooner towards freedom and opportunity.
But on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the country. So, liberty has turned its head up again in one of the best ways. So, Lady Liberty — man, woman, friend, old cat lady down the street — thanks for being a symbol of the equality and freedom all Americans deserve. Supreme Court, thanks for reminding us that there is still liberty in this country. Don’t worry Springsteen will write a song for you soon.