Our old friend America dropping by reminded me of a question. You know that hillbilly song that came out - I think - around the time of the Gulf War with the refrain - "I'm proud to be an American"? Well, I've always thought about this particular line:
"I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free."
Especially for the folks that revere this song, in what way, precisely, are they "free"? They're free to drop out of high school to go to work. They're free to live in a trailer park. They're free to work at a coal mine. They're free to chain smoke cigarettes until they get lung cancer. They're free to drink beer and play quarters every Friday for 50 years until they die. They're free to drive a 1974 Pinto. They're free to eat canned ravioli every other night for dinner and McDonalds and Coke (supersized) for lunch every day. They're free to rot their teeth out by the time they're 45. They're free to have sex with their cousin in the ultra wide next door.
In what way, exactly, are they "free"?