Everybody has different idea of how to define the term Freedom based on various culture, religion or even education background. My view of Freedom is being able to do anything at anytime and in anywhere under the law without jeopardizing anotherбпs Freedom. Based on the diversity of American people, it is not surprised that freedom has been interpreted in a different way. Freedom can not stand along as an abstract standard in the society. Its practical meaning changes according to the environment where it sits. Today, with the post 9/11 situation, freedom has changed in someway in the U.S.
The first change that everybody could feel is that there are less different voices in the media, especially regarding the war on Iraq. Before the war, People found that the campaign of propaganda was always “For war” in the major newspaper, TV and radio. You wouldnбпt hear the voice of “against war” unless you knew when and where to go. The media gave very limited exposure of antiwar demonstration, even millions of people were on the street in the U.S. and virtually every country in the world was against war. During the war, there was little news about how was the life of Iraqi people who were suffering from the war. The report of U.S. military personnelбпs casualty was broadcasted very precisely and in time on every major network and local station in the United State. Their family members were invited as guests all over the national network. On the other hand, nobody cared about how many innocent Iraqi people were killed and what was their family memberбоs feeling of the war. The media lost their unbiased view since all of the reports about the war came from those so called “embedded reporter”. A lot of people turned to watch BBC instead of American news channel because they wanted some freedom of choice on news resource. Freedom of speech, which is one of the most important features of American life, is jeopardized because the conflict of interest with the administration.
The second change is about lifestyle, especially applies to those people who live in the high potential terror attack target cities like New York, Washington D.C and Chicago. People feel anxious and unsecured when they see terror alert level goes more colorful. People lose their freedom to choose where to go, when to go or how to go the place they want to go. People immediately get a second thought if they see an Arab man sitting around in the airplane or restaurant. People take great caution to take public transportation, go to theatre and other public place. Some people even store large amount of food and groceries and seal their windows to prepare for the bio attack. In a word, people are forced to change their way of life because todayбпs situation.
The third change of freedom only happened to certain group of people because of their unique culture background or nationality. The Arab-American wonбпt have the freedom of speech of certain words or sentence which is too sensitive to tell whether they are doing some kind of conspiracy of terror attack. I remembered that four Arab looking like medical students were arrested in a small restaurant near the Inter State highway when they were on their way to attend a medical conference. This was just because a lady who sat besides them in the same restaurant overheard their conversation during the lunch and felt suspicious about the phrase they were using. Most of the international student and scholar are forced to wait for the background checking when they try to re-enter the states.
The recent approved Patriot Act grants more power to the government authorities to monitoring peopleбпs telephone, email and other private data to collect intelligence for anti-terror missions. FBI has the right to detaining any suspicious people for longer time than before without charging them. One college student was kicked out the school because of wearing anti-Bush T-shirt. The explanation from the school board was that the student had the freedom of speech but the school also had the freedom to choose student. Many people believe the abuse of authority under the excuse of national security jeopardizes the freedom of ordinary life.
We are living in a special period of time when the quantity of freedom is considered as the most important factor for the quality of life. We believe that those Muslim people who live in caves are the most dangerous threat of our freedom, because they blew up themselves to destroy our freedom life. Ironically, we are not getting more freedom from the victory of anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan and Iraq. I believe that todayбпs changing of freedom is bond to the changing of Bush administrationбпs foreign policy- the ambition of unilaterally control the world. I donбпt think this policy would work to give people more freedom. People will fight for their own freedom if your will or behavior to have more freedom harms theirs.