ALLOWED AND FORBIDDEN – Marilyn Armstrong

Are we still free?

As our “freedom” seems to be becoming increasingly less free with each passing day, I have to wonder about a lot of things I always accepted as true. Or close to true.

I never believed Americans were quite as “free” as we said we were, but we were freer than most places I could live. Americans were under less scrutiny than most places. Our press was stronger — and freer — than most other places.

A friend told me a long time ago that one of the major differences between Europe and the U.S.A. was how we see our “freedom.”



Is that still true? I have a feeling it isn’t. You think?

Just a little note here:

The U.S. was explored by Europeans.

Spanish, Italian, English mostly. French. Portuguese. The people who didn’t “explore and settle” were the Natives whose land it was. So if a lot of what came with those original “explorers” stuck, you guys stuck it here. It didn’t get born in this soil. It was European. Brought here by the greedy guts explorers who showed up in ships and did their worst. We are your descendants. YOUR descendants. You might consider that in the midst of your condemnation.

You brought it and this is what it became.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

38 thoughts on “ALLOWED AND FORBIDDEN – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

    My wife and I going to be marching and protesting tomorrow at the Families Belong Together rally tomorrow. I wonder if we’ll get arrested for marching and protesting what our government is doing to families seek asylum in our country. That seems to be the American way these days.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love that –“Freedom’s just another word fornothing left to lose”.

      Maybe they should play Janis along with Kate Smith at the beisbol stadiums.

      I hear Bobby McGee may make it to the show this year. He’s red hot at Triple A. Birmingham Bulls.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I visited the USA in 2003 the welcome ritual on the airport of Chicago meant: “Please put off your shows.” Never before and afterwards did that happen again because there was terror alarm red, while nothing special had happened in reality. Unfortunately there were holes in my socks but no weapons at all. Freedom or simply crazyness? You decide.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think since 9/11, there has been a lot of paranoia here. But really, the paranoia goes WAY back, probably to World War I at least and maybe even before. We are like the kids who took over the sandbox and now wonder if we can keep it. Except of course for the people who had it first. You do need to remember that American didn’t come to “settle” America. They were ALL Europeans. From Europe.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love the photo but take exception to the statement. I’ve lived in Europe all of my life and have always assumed everything was allowed, unless it specifically said so. I do think that we see ourselves and our place in the world rather differently, but that’s a whole different subject. 🙂 🙂 Happy Saturday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What is truly interesting to me is that the “founders” of America were ALL Europeans All of them. The natives never had anything to say about it. So while we are all saying “Hey, not MY problem,” well yeah. A teensy bit maybe. It’s not like the Chinese came by or the Maori. We inherited a lot of what we got from those explorers and they weren’t born here. Most of them didn’t settle here, either — but they left their mark behind.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t help but agree with Jo. I’m a European, raised in New Zealand and have always felt that that what is forbidden is explicit.
    I also think we perhaps have a different notion of freedom. As an outsider, it seems that the US has a very JS Mill inspired “freedom to” world-view, whereas in many Europeans countries (and NZ, though less so these days), it’s perhaps more also about “freedom from” — poverty, I’ll-health, injustice, etc. Our institutions are perhaps more predicated on everyone sacrificing some freedom to (make obscene amounts of money, untaxed for example) in order to safeguard the greatest number of people’s overall freedom. I remember a political philosophy lecture along these lines when I was an undergrad, but that’s a long time ago and i’m fuzzy on the details.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true today, but that really only goes back to the rebuilding following two world wars. A lot of the mainland of Europe was devastated. They HAD to rebuild and they went socialist. Which is fine, mind you. I have no problem with that. But before the wars, Europe was ruled by a bunch of rich old royal families and nobody took care of anybody.

      America fought in the war, but it wasn’t on our soil. We didn’t have to rebuild from the rubble of bombing. In fact, the U.S. gained most of its economic supremacy from the disaster in Europe. You don’t have Trump, you lucky dogs, but you’ve got a lot of other issues trying to support the systems you built post-war. You are also just as bad about immigration as Americans. And there’s more than enough hatred going around.

      I understand that Europe (and coincidentally Australia) did serious rebuilding post-war, but you needed a couple of massive wars to get it done. You did NOT do it before the war. Even talking about pre-war was unthinkable and often treasonous. People seem to forget there WAS a pre-war world. You weren’t so damned liberal back then, you know?

      America isn’t alone. We surely have the worst asshole as our head of state, but I didn’t vote for him. Regardless, we are going through some heavy reshaping of our nations and positions in the world. Take a look at England and Holland and for that matter, Australia — then tell me that you don’t have some serious issues of your own.

      We are all in this TOGETHER. It’s ONE world. There’s no other planet waiting to take in those of us who don’t fit in here. We either make this work or we are ALL doomed.

      Like

      1. I don’t know much about Australian history, and I regularly bemoan the massive shift towards neo-liberalism in New Zealand — the country whose history I do know a lot about — but our liberalism/socialism goes back to the nineteenth century and is more about the nature of our immigration patterns than world wars. Universal free, secular and compulsory education for 7-13 year olds was legislated for in 1877 and extended to age 18 in 1910; in my day tertiary education was practically free!! Women gained the vote in 1893; the old-age pension was introduced in 1898; State housing in 1905; Widow’s pension in 1911; unemployment benefits in 1930; universal healthcare and sickness and invalid benefits in 1938. There’s a bunch of other stuff too — like a state-run accident compensation corporation that means we don’t sue each other over every car crash and broken pavement. Even today, medical treatment is available to everyone regardless of ability to pay.
        We certainly have some major issues which keep me awake at night — like the rest of the world. We desperately need to address them like everyone else if we are to survive. No argument there.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are one of the very few countries that somehow managed to make peace with your Native population. I think, probably, because unlike ours, they fought you to a standstill. It has worked out well for you both. You have a nice country and one in which I wouldn’t mind living. Sadly, I couldn’t even afford the plane fare, but it is exceptionally beautiful.

          Like

  5. I don’t know who uttered those words about freedom in Europe vs AMerica. It’s just total rubbish and not true at all (sorry for foul language). Must have been an American so convinced of their country that all others were supposed to be ‘null’…. I’m European and have lived on two continents and in several countries. I always was allowed to have my opinion and utter it.
    But one thing is clear: Nowadays there isn’t much in the Americas tempting to believe in. Which is terrible, terribly sad and demoralising. We have family over there and we wouldn’t even visit them any longer – and they probably don’t dare to see us either because who knows, they might not be getting back in?! So depressing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I never entirely believed it anyway, so I’m not surprised to hear it’s rubbish. I think Americans have always been rather full of themselves. Well, it’s pretty hard to feel that way now. It may never feel that way again.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Never heard that one before. Never been to Europe though.
    But you’re right about Freedom. Yeah we are Freer than most places on the planet.
    But don’t put yourself in the spotlight or you might find out a few things that will shake you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Buck, I’ve travelled, in my younger years, to the UK, France (Vineyard country), and Rome. Vietnam on a work assignment. Enjoyed the visits but always happy to come home again. Travel is a great educator and gives you new perspective and appreciation of home –with all its faults. There’s no place like_____.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. Since 9/11 I’ve NEVER felt the same about our safety nor the stability of our country. I’ve watched a parade of worsening idiots getting elected to our highest seats of power, until the ultimate in horror – tdump. And I have to think we did bring it on ourselves for the following reasons:
    We stopped being grateful for our freedom and so gave it away without so much as a kiss.
    We stopped believing in God (sorry for the atheists in the crowd…nothing to see here, read on) and because of that decline in morals, we’re reaping the whirlwind.
    We started to believe we’re entitled and the ‘BEST” there is, and pride cometh before a fall, right? We fell down. Big time.
    We sit by and do nothing while evil men (read people) do their worst.

    No wonder freedom is gone. We didn’t want it. Somebody took it. Now we have to live with our situation. Me? I’d rather be dead frankly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not quite up to “I’d rather be dead.” I’m still at the wondering if there’s anything I can actually do to help.

      I don’t think the lack of Christianity or any other religion has much to do with this mess. I think it’s all about greed and arrogance. Our tendency to believe that our world is just there for the taking and we never have to give anything back. That’s terribly European, don’t you think?

      We didn’t create pollution. We didn’t create our corporate empires without examples to follow. We had the British to follow, after all [– the greatest empire builders of them all. We followed on the steps of our mighty ancestors. We didn’t invent slavery. It came from the old world.

      Europe changed a lot after the second world war, but the war was fought there, so they had little choice but to make changes. We sent people there, but the war wasn’t fought here. Selective history is always rather skewed. I don’t think most people lost faith. I think corporate America became our new God. When we decided to worship money, it all went to Hell in a handbasket.

      Greed never gets its fair due as a grievous sin. Pity about that.

      Liked by 1 person

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