Emerging From Dystopia, Part 2

(“And some day we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddam steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up,” Granger said in Fahrenheit 451.)

And what else will people remember?

That all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain, unalienable rights, including the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. “Endowed by their Creator,” not by the bosses, rights that were ours from the moment of creation, rights we have held since birth, and let no tyrant try to take them away. He or she may send armies to lock you down, but they cannot crush your rights without your permission.

In dystopia, no one talks about freedom. But some remember. They hold the memory delicately like a flower that might be crushed, but freedom is not so fragile. Freedom is baked into our DNA and forged into our souls. Our instinct to be free is slapped and shoved and slashed and burned, but it is impervious to all.

“They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom.” It’s a line in a movie, spoken by a character who lived and died 700 years ago. In another film a man is chained for calling out the liars among their wannabe rulers, and he rattles the handcuff and declares, “I am the only free man on this train.”

In the stories, those men died, but we remember them, and we remember what they said.

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