Freedom and Democracy
in the Age of an Olympics in Totalitarian China
"Freedom" and "Democracy" were used in many speeches by the last US President but I don't think he ever understood their deep meaning. How could he, having subverted democracy to steal an election?
The pursuit of freedom and democracy is essential to our humanity. Neither can be given, they must be actively and willfully sought. Even children lucky enough to be born into freedom and democracy must 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 struggles have inspired me greatly.
The US LIberty Bell, wrang in 1776 as rebels declared that all men are created equal. Their courage and follow through 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. 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 (see the video). In a New York City park, sympathetic 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. 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 in 2001. This organization brings together inquisitive minds from throughout the world to think, create, and communicate. I am especially amazed at the brilliant young minds I see; I hope they will be brave. Freedom is essential for science because scientific breakthrough requires the freedom to see through the dogma of existing ways of seeing.
The irony of freedom and its struggle continues. Today the United States spends many billions of dollars to force-feed a bogus freedom on Iraq, while supporting totalitarianism in China and Tibet by participating in a Olympics with little protest. (The president did voice some criticism, yeah!)
May the United States once again stand for Freedom!