Freedom: Enjoy It While You Defend it

“X is great and all, but it’s pretty hard to enjoy X when the government has it’s hands in your pocket.”

“Sure, Y is fun, but it’s pretty hard to be happy about things like Y when Hilary is getting ready to take away our guns.”

“I’m a big fan of Z too…and believe me, it’s great. Just kinda hard to smile about Z when Trump is taking over the country.”

Substitute anything you want for X, Y, & Z. It can be Disneyland, the new X-Men film, the possibilities of P2P technologies. You name it. If you celebrate it, someone somewhere will feel the need to say the sorts of statements I’ve written above.

This is what an unhealthy obsession with politics does to people. It’s as if many of us have been brainwashed into thinking we don’t have permission to ever feel good, to ever laugh at anything, to ever make a joke, to ever go out on a date, to ever have a superficial conversation, to ever enjoy a glass of wine, or to ever chill the hell out to the sounds of jazz until every single political issue first gets resolved.

Well, my friends, if there is one political result I can guarantee you, it’s this: Whenever the moment comes for you to take your last breath, there will be several very important political issues still left unresolved. If you don’t learn to taste any of life’s sweetness right here and now, when will you learn?

Yes, fight for what you believe in.

Yes, keep getting worked up over what aggravates you.

Yes, I explicitly encourage you to be angry about all that is wrong with the world.

Yes, yes, and yes, to all the things you can say about the problems of evil and our duty to do something about it.

Don’t compromise that part of yourself one bit.

But please remember this: There is a thing called joy. There is a thing called love. There is a thing called peace. There is a thing called laughter. There is a thing called fun. There is a thing called awe. These things have many enemies. And while the enemies are worth fighting, you will never experience these things if you wait around for the enemies to disappear first.

A meaningful and passionate life is not available a la carte. It can only be experienced alongside the ugliness, messiness, and sadness that is also part and parcel of life.

If life were a fairy tale, then perhaps we could all afford to wait until the “good guys” beat the “bad guys” before we gave ourselves permission to do things like smile, play, dance and create. Unfortunately, life is not a fairy tale and that means we’re going to have to learn to enjoy our freedom while we fight for it, while we defend it, and while we bemoan the efforts of those who seek to stifle it.