To the editor:
We often talk of America as being the land of the free, but many Americans are so accustomed to their freedoms, they don't even realize they have them. Consider these few:
You may eat pork or shellfish without being ostracized.
You may choose names for your children that are not on a religiously approved list.
You may publicly criticize the government and its officials without penalty.
You may drink alcoholic beverages without being flogged or tortured.
You may belong to any religious organization you choose, not just a government-approved one.
You may own firearms.
You may own and use computers, typewriters and copiers without a permit.
You may move freely about the country without a permit.
You have multiple candidates to vote for and the right to a secret vote.
You have the right to meet peacefully together with a group of people.
You may listen to or play any kind of music you choose, even that with vulgar, degrading lyrics, without having a price on your head.
You may choose any course of study in an institution of higher learning.
You may quit your job if you wish.
You may own, or burn, if you wish, any book.
The list goes on.
Many places in the world do not have the same freedoms.
Some American rights have been eroded in the name of national security.
You have the right to legal counsel if you are arrested.
You may not be arrested and held in secret or indefinitely without charges.
You may not be stopped and searched for no reason.
This, of course, is reprehensible and evil. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "Those who give up freedom for security will soon have neither."