Taking freedom to the world. What a grand claim. What a grand desire. What a ridiculous premise.
We have heard over and over that it is our job to spread freedom and democracy to the world. To bring an end to tyranny. To free the oppressed. But I have come to realize that it is simply not possible to do.
Freedom is not a gift. It cannot be given. It cannot be gained FOR you. It is a right. A right that must be seized and held by the strength of your resolve. Freedom must be purchased in blood if necessary. If it is just given to you, with no sacrifice, you will never appreciate it, never value it, never jealously protect it. If freedom is not taken, it will not be worth dying to keep. Unless you are willing to die to taken it, it means nothing to you, you will take it for granted.
In the dark depths of our history, in the waning day light in Philadelphia over 200 years ago, our forefathers committed the people of this land to war. The desire for freedom and independence burst from is shell and lashed out violently at the oppressive british empire. It the fire and blood of the revolution, freedom was born, strengthened, and taken by the force of our collective will! Thousands were willing to die to earn the freedom they so desperately desired. And because of that genesis in blood, because that freedom was taken, demanded, not given, we have remained a free people.
Freedom cannot be given. If people are not willing to die to gain freedom, if the light of freedom doesn't burn so brightly that it burns away the chaff, then there can be no freedom. Tyranny only exists because the people allow it to exist. Take Iraq as an example. Why did they live under tyranny so long? Why didn't the people rise up and annihilate tyranny? Because it wasn't so important to them as it is to us. They didn't desire freedom so much as to rise up and fight the tyranny. They don't desire freedom so much that it burns in their hearts and struggles to break free!
Spreading democracy and freedom is a pipe dream! Freedom only comes to those willing to have it at any cost. Freedom is the right of all human beings. Yet, it only belongs to those willing to seize it in a death grip and claim their right! What will be the ultimate out come of the nations we "bring democracy and freedom too" when we leave? Are we naive enough to believe that we can "enforce" freedom and democracy on a people unwilling to hold onto it themselves?
No. We must no longer partake in "spreading democracy and freedom". We can no longer hold on to childish idealistic views that we even have the power to "bring freedom" to any one. Rather, stoke the fires of freedom through our actions in the world. Stoke the desire to be free, and stand ready to hold out a hand when the peoples of the world throw themselves into the fire and purchase their freedom with their own blood. Until that happens, our soldiers will die for the "freedom and democracy" of absolutely nothing.