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Americans Should Be Free To Express Themselves Without Fear – OpEd

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By Dalia Al-Aqidi*

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In general, one would say the US is the land of the free, in which five freedoms are cherished and protected by the constitution: The freedoms of speech, religion, press and assembly, and the right to petition the government. The vast majority believe in that, but the reality says otherwise.

I recently read a book by author Dave Rubin entitled, “Don’t Burn This Country,” in which he explained the progressive psychological warfare and authoritarian path we are heading down. People are afraid to express their opinions or beliefs in the current climate. The US has become the land of fear since the majority of people are censoring themselves in order to be “politically correct” and to avoid getting themselves into a verbal or physical altercation.

Rubin wrote: “These fears cross partisan lines. The majority of Democrats (52 percent), independents (59 percent), and Republicans (77 Percent) all agree they have political opinions they are afraid to share.”

Today, American society gives business owners the right to dismiss their employees due to a post on social media. Individuals feel threatened and are afraid of saying the wrong thing in the wrong place. Demonstrations have become an arena for confrontation; wearing a shirt bearing the American flag or a red baseball cap indicates that you are a supporter of the conservatives and, therefore, you are a legitimate target.

That is what the far-left, progressive members of the Democratic Party have been trying to do — control the people and make their solutions the only ones for every citizen. No need to think for yourself; we are here to show you the right way to think, the right way to act and the right way to vote.

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In collectivist societies, the individual is a reflection of the group. A person’s identity is an integral part of the identity of the group to which they belong, whether this group is part of a neighborhood, a government institution or the state. For instance, we find different ethnicities as members of Black Lives Matter.

I refuse to be one of the herd, walk in a straight line and do what I am commanded to do. In fact, they remind me of the totalitarian regime in Iraq led by Saddam Hussein. The difference between the progressives and Saddam is that the latter cancels the opposition by assassinating them. In contrast, the radical far left cancels the people that do not agree with their theories.

Why did I flee Baghdad 30 years ago to immigrate to the US? I certainly did not come here to learn the English language or eat a delicious meal at McDonald’s. I chose the US to exercise all the freedoms this country protects, allowing me to write this op-ed piece without fearing any consequences.

On the other side, individual societies, such as those in America and western Europe, give freedom to the individuals to decide their future. In essence, it is up to the individuals to choose how they live, dress, think or act to prosper and improve at their own pace, not because the government says so.

From individualism came the American dream, which makes the country a dreamland for everyone who seeks to achieve their goals, legacy and glory. Former US President Barack Obama and current Vice President Kamala Harris, among many others, reflect what America is.

Are Americans more individualistic and less collectivistic? Why do individuals work if the government helps them financially to stay at home, turning society into a lazy group that depends on the government’s handouts? This is what the extreme left is trying to promote by encouraging citizens to rely on them entirely.

The call to individuality is a call to freedom, a call to tolerance and a call to save America.

Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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