We’re Seeing Clear Signs of How Freedom Isn’t Free

by on July 22, 2019 · 4 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Like any other American I appreciate the freedoms we have, especially the freedom to express one’s self, as I can’t exist without speaking up in some manner.

But I just wish I, and my people, were fully free, free to just go about our lives, like white people, like for instance, not having to instruct our sons regarding what to do if they’re walking down the street minding their own business and a cop rides up on them with his hands on his weapon, at the ready to commit a crime where there had been none.

That’s the kind of liberty we want, simply freedoms like being able to sit down and wait on a friend to join you in Starbucks or swim at a pool or barbecue in the park without somebody calling 911.

Seems like when it comes to freedom for some folks the job just never gets done and one of my favorite freedom songs, “Pass it On,” expresses rather eloquently why that is. I can just hear Judy Collins singing it in her inimitable “let’s change this world” style:

Freedom doesn’t come like a bird on the wing
It doesn’t come down like the summer rain
Freedom, freedom is a hard-won thing
You’ve got to work for it, fight for it
Day and night for it
And every generation has got to win it again
Pass it on to your children, mother
Pass it on to your children, brother
You’ve got to work for it, fight for it, day and night for it
Pass it on to your children
Pass it on

An old American idiom simply states such sentiments as “Freedom Isn’t Free.”

And that’s sad because it should be.

But wins for freedom seekers are so far and in-between and forever challenged and disregarded. We spend a life crusading to acquire what’s right so that we can, as the song suggests, pass the struggle on to the children for the next leg of the fight.

And the fight today, in America, “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,” is taking place in a soul destroying atmosphere of racist frolicsomeness with energized misguided white supremacists chomping at the bit “Making America Great Again” – like back in the 40’s and 50’s when you could call a spade a spade and white folks pretty much had their way.

These people hearken for days when racism was loud and exciting and loosely tethered and dangerous for the people they hate: people of color; Jews; queers; non-Christians…

They’ve suffered in silence for years, wanting so much to yell their “Yee Ha’s” in the street like when firehoses flushed Negroes down the street for daring to want to be treated like human beings, with dignity. For decades they’ve yearned and prayed for such “Good Old Days.”

That quiet period was the result of people, over time, working for it, fighting for it day and night for it. Over and over again. And then some.

And then a president comes along who carries the banner of racism loudly and proudly like a Drum Major leading contenders in a marching band competition, everyone in step, following directions.

And they’re fully awake after a long hibernation, enjoying the power given them to vent their hateful natures, recently chillingly chanting, in reference to a black Congresswoman who hails from Somalia but is now an American citizen: “Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!”

All because she and three other Congresswomen of color had called the president out for, among other things, his lack of compassion and empathy for all human beings. And he showed that as he stood tall, basking in his disciples’ revelry, enjoying each second of it as though he was listening to a lovely lullaby.

What a sickening scene, seeing a so-called “Leader of the ‘Free’ World” fomenting the kind of hate that put these forward thinking women’s lives in danger when they should be treated as American heroes for their pursuits of justice and progressive change.

What we’re seeing in our country right now are clear signs of how “Freedom Isn’t Free” as this president’s cruelty has no bounds, making it a must for us Americans to entertain singing “We shall overcome” again as a reminder that we have to stay the course and “pass it on” because “Every generation has got to win it again.”

We can’t let our children down by allowing this evil man to stay in power.

“Pass it On” by Millard Lampel and George Kleinsinger


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

J Cannon July 28, 2019 at 10:38 pm

What you said.


Stan Levin July 29, 2019 at 8:02 am

Good, Ern …
The prevailing evil won’t be quashed by managing to evict everybody in residence in the three branches, but it would (will?) be a step in the right direction.
Your Pardner,


Virginia L. Franco July 29, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Thank you, Ernie,

You, yes your written, and spoken language of heartfelt truths. We the many are grateful for your love and patience as you soften our minds to what could be.
Once The Many turn around against what is distasteful, dishonest, and into common sense – caring for the other, and genuine love and respect.


Thomas Gayton July 31, 2019 at 7:33 pm



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