Democracy and Freedom Today
"Freedom" and "Democracy" are words used by politicians, but I sometimes wonder if their deep meanings are understood (e.g., *). Yet, freedom and democracy are important for the development of human potential, perhaps even essential to our humanity.
Freedom means, among other things, that the mind is open to possibilities and that the deepest thoughts and feelings can be expressed and considered. Democracy is a tool that can be used to pursue possibilities that enchance people and cultures. Freedom and democracy cannot be given, they must be willfully sought. Even children lucky enough to be born into freedom and democracy must actively pursue these goals to realize them. This takes courage and I hope there is enough courage in my country to continue the quest.
We can be inspired by people who have fought and who are fighting for their freedom. Three symbols of their struggle inspire me greatly.
The US Liberty Bell, wrang in 1776 as rebels declared that all people are created equal. Their courage, follow through, and sacrifice led to birth of a democracy. Thank you!
That's me next to the bell.
In China in 1989, thousands of people risked their lives and their status to campaign for freedom of expression. They erected a Goddess of Democracy to inspire their struggle. The struggle was partially (but never totally) suppressed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. "Tank Man" lives on as a testimony to human strength (utube the incredible video). In a New York City park, peoples erected the goddess shown here. I shed tears there.
Overall, wisdom is growing in the world. Also in 1989, the growth of wisdom and trust in the world led to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and increased freedom throughout that part of the world. In 1999, I visited, contemplated, and touched a large piece in Dallas. That weekend I was inspired to help tear down walls in science, walls between the scientific disciplines of vision. I helped create the Vision ScienceS Society, which met first in 2001 and thrived ever since. This organization brings together inquisitive minds from throughout the world to present, listen, think, create, and celebrate. What a wonderful scene! I am especially amazed at the brilliant young minds I see. I hope they will be brave and free and take the time to develop their freedom. Freedom is essential for science because scientific breakthrough requires individuals to see through the dogma of existing ways of thinking, to discovery new ideas and perspectives.
The sometimes ironic struggle for freedom continues.

  • Today in the United States many adult couples love each other, yet the most basic lover's rights are terminated if your heart doesn't obey someone else's definition of "morality"! (Basic rights such as taking care of your loved one in our community hospitals, e.g.). this situation is starting to change, cheers!

  • Today the United States spends many billions of dollars to force-feed "freedom" across the seas. There are good things happening in the wars, including an appreciation of other cultures. I hope the eventual result outweighs the destruction.

  • In the Chinese Olympics, the immense energy and beauty of the Chinese people was obvious. Yet, there was little discussion of the suppression of thought and choice in China. Most governments were quiet and the reason (cited by many) is the possibility of financial gain through trade relations with China. Money trumps ideals -- in the short run.

  • Today in Florida, legal citizens struggle to register to vote and to be able to vote conveniently, because they system is designed to discourage new voters and young voters. (The reason appears to be they vote the "wrong way.")

  • I hope the United States will once again stand for Freedom!

    * Consider the 2000 election, "won" by someone who went on to talk about freedom and democracy a lot, George W. Bush. In that year, Al Gore won the election; the political scheming that led to Bush is well documented (google "2000 election"). First, the final decision for Busch was made by a biased court (the same issue was decided for Gore in the Florida Supreme Court, which was biased the other way). Second, if one makes an honest effort to assess the *intent* of Florida voters (ignoring unintentional mistakes), Gore wins. But third and most important, the Republicans took away the right to vote from thousands of likely democratic voters in Florida (see, e.g.). The state government, led by Bush's brother, used taxpayer's money to pay a private company to create a system to take away democratic votes. Ostensibly, the purpose of the system was to "purge felons from the voter rolls;" however, the well-documented flaws designed into the system took away the vote from thousands of citizens, mostly African American, who were likely to vote Democratic. This is not Democracy!