The land of the free and the home of the brave / by kevin murray

The star-spangled banner, which is the national anthem of the United States of America, declares proudly that America is "…the land of the free and the home of the brave."  But, seriously, where can we truly find this mythical land of the free and the home of the brave, because surely it cannot be America.  At least, it cannot be the America as it behaves in the present day.


For instance, no country incarcerates more of its own people, than the United States of America.  In fact, in comparison to all other western nations, the United States is an outlier to an extreme measure in regards to incarceration, in which, the sheer numbers of those incarcerated in America are so large, that as Hillary Clinton stated the United States, "… is home to 25 percent of the world’s prison population."  By definition, those that are locked up are not free, and further to the point, the fact that so many are locked up, does not make those that are not incarcerated, somehow, more free.  Rather, it must be said, that the more people that are locked up, or are trapped within the criminal justice system, the more endangered the general public is to the very same sort of thing possibly happening to them, because when it comes to incarceration, truly America carries a very big stick that they will apparently wield with impunity, for they know that even the world at large, are fearful of even insinuating that America treats its own people in an inhumane and unjust manner, though it does exactly that.


Additionally, no land can truly be considered to be free, if the structure within that country favors certain elite people and classes of people at the expense of those that lack primarily income, stable family structure, and opportunity; for those that are born within a construct in which the schools that they attend are fundamentally disadvantaged, and in addition are denied fair access to meaningful employment that will  help catapult them out of their cycle of poverty, than those people are surely not free.


No nation, has every used the atomic bomb to kill civilians, but America, which did so not just once, but twice, when it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which the dropping of atomic bombs upon civilians to kill them indiscriminately, is not brave and never can be defined as brave.  Since then, America has continued to bomb country after country, so that, a country as tiny as Laos, which as reported by, suffers from being "… the most heavily bombed country in history."   The bombing of countries continues until the present age, in which Afghanistan, a country that America has been at war with since 2001, had more bombs dropped on it in 2018, then any other year, since that war commenced.  So too, America loves to utilize drones to target and to strike "enemy combatants" with the inevitable collateral damage of civilians that are killed, alongside the so-called "bad guys."


No matter how you slice it, and what words are used, the bombing and drone killing of enemy combatants is not brave, because those that are doing the bombing and drone strikes are virtually never physically at risk, and a reasonable definition of bravery includes the expectation that in order to be brave, one must actually be risking something of material consequence, or be in actual danger.  


It can be said, that those that insist upon wearing a crown that they do not deserve, will find that there will come a time when those that have the rightful claim for that crown, will seize it for themselves.