Outlaw Kings and Freedom

I had this Labor Day to myself and decided to finally knock out a movie that’s been sitting in my Netflix watch-list for a good long while – Outlaw King. A good movie by Netflix standards I thought and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The movie centers on Robert the Bruce as he leads Scotland against England in their war for independence in the early years of the 14th century.

You might have guessed that one of the underlying themes of the movie was freedom, and it got me thinking about it throughout the day.

Freedom – we hear that word a lot in America, and boy, do we like saying it. Ask any red-blooded American about what makes America great, and they’ll tell you – freedom.

But the funny thing is, I don’t think Americans really understand what freedom is. Or better yet, we don’t truly value freedom. For most Americans today, their freedom has never been jeopardized, and we’ve become spoiled because of that.

But maybe I should be more specific here, because I think minorities are exempt from that. They’ve had their freedom and safety jeopardized all throughout American history. Maybe white Americans is a better way to go, because I don’t really know if they know what oppression means – not really. How can I when they shout of oppression when Starbucks stops saying Merry Christmas.

The last time America has fought an enemy nation on our soil was the War of 1812. And technically, the Japanese did invade the Aleutian Islands in WWII and the safety and freedom of the US was in potential jeopardy during those times, but even then, US cities didn’t see war at all. We didn’t see the fire, the destruction, the death laid out before us by another’s hand.

We’ve never had foreign soldiers under another king’s banner come into our towns, take the men to fight in someone else’s war, raid our storehouses and livestock, and take advantage of our wives and daughters at their will. In other words, real oppression. Real tyranny and real terror.

War and tyranny have always been over there, never here in our homes. And I think that’s made us value freedom less. It’s never been at stake, so we’re not aware of how much we have to lose. Now, I must say I’m thankful it’s never been threatened, but we can’t look past what’s it’s done to us.

Because the main problem with Americans not truly valuing freedom is that we’re not aware of when it gets taken from us. When we didn’t have to fight for it to get it, we’re not as likely to fight to keep it. It’s not worth as much, so we don’t protect it. Or worse, we willingly begin to give it away. When faced with actual oppression, we don’t even try resisting it.

For how much we love freedom in this country, it’s astonishing to see how much we take it for granted. We have to remain vigilant of our freedoms, because there will always be others who desire to take it away from us. And when our freedom is truly threatened, it’s ours to be outlaws until we can once again be our own kings.



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