While quaffing down a couple of cold ones at my local establishment last night, the subject of “freedom fries” came up. Naturally everybody who wasn’t glued to the television watching NCAA basketball had some sort of opinion on the subject
One of my good friends, a learned professor of geography at the prestigious institution known as Ohio State University, is a very well spoken and well traveled individual. As the discussion moved to the French and their stance on the possible war with Iraq and the insanity of re-naming French Fries and the like because we disagree with their so called pompous attitude, here’s what he had to say. (okay, we were a little skewered on beer and my recollection of the conversation is a little hazy so this isn’t verbatim, but it is damn close.)
”Hey, you really wanna piss the French off? Do you think they give a shit about us renaming French Fries or French Toast? C’mon, they’re freakin’ embarrassed to even be associated with the goddamn things! If you REALLY wanna piss ‘em off, start naming MORE things after them. They can’t stand that kinda shit!”
I guess the concept of freedom is pretty hard to define. The French, among others, have expressed their freedom in the form of not backing the United States in a war with Iraq. Many would, rightly so in my humble opinion, call them ungrateful for their stance given the circumstances surrounding a little incident that goes by the name of World War II. But then again….
When does blind allegiance to any country or cause stop? When can a debt such as the guaranteeing of freedom be considered paid in full? The French are merely exercising the freedom that was granted to them through the horrible bloodshed that occurred during World War II.
I guess many countries have certain freedoms that they can take for granted. Given the conditions that exist in the world right now, it appears that the freedom to disagree with the United States is not among them. Right now, the message we seem to be sending is that while it's okay to disagree with the United States, you can be certain there will some kind of price to pay.
These points and a multitude of others are better left to be pondered by minds with a far greater capacity than mine to understand such things. The only thing I do know is that this is not the type of “freedom” that I would endorse.