America: Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

Maggie Musco is a musical theatre performer and lover. She spends most of her time performing, but when she is not, loves spending time with her family at home watching movies or at Disney.

Recently, in my AP Language and Composition class, my teacher gave us a prompt around this quote from American essayist H.L. Mencken: “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.”  The assignment was to explain whether or not this quote was applicable to today’s society.  When I first read the quote my instant reaction was “of course this is wrong, obviously any person in their right mind would choose freedom over safety,” but as I began to write my essay and truly thought about the world today I realized I wasn’t so sure about that assumption.

Obviously, freedom is one of the most (perhaps the most) important principles of the United States, but with the the recent implementation of President Trump’s travel ban, I’m beginning to believe that this “All-American,” unifying belief is starting to evade us as a nation. We live in a paranoid society, where so many are scared of anyone who is not like them. With shootings and terrorist attacks happening more and more frequently, Americans have let this lead them down a deep, dark path of fear that is jeopardizing our lifelong belief and fight for freedom. Americans seem to be willing to sacrifice our lifelong held standard of freedom.

For as long as we’ve been a nation we have fought for freedom. When we speak about all the men and women who fight for our country we say they do it to defend our country’s freedom. When we fought at the beginning of our nation in the American Revolution, it was to gain freedom. When thousands of blacks and whites in the United States participated in the civil rights movement, it was to obtain freedom. These hundreds of years of fighting and protesting and marching and working toward maintaining freedom should not all be shat on by some power hungry maniac trying to prevent thousands of helpless people in need of assistance and support from entering our country.

This act is not American and it most definitely does not maintain the lifelong struggle of freedom- not only for Americans, but for others- we have fought so hard for. Although President Trump may claim that this act is being put in place to keep us safe, all it is doing is defacing our American legacy. We’ve let our fear put us in a place where we are willing to sacrifice freedom and spreading freedom, in order to be safe in one of the most discriminatory and unjust ways possible. Americans are supposed to be brave! “And the home of the brave,” remember?  We can not let fear cripple us and lead us into sacrificing our ideals. It is time to live up to the words of our national anthem and behave as the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”


Maggie Musco

Maggie is a musical theatre performer and lover. She spends most of her time performing, but when she is not, loves spending time with her family at home watching movies or at Disney.

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