After reading the passage An Affluent Society, 1953-1960 (“What Freedom Means to Us”) in chapter 24, the most general analytic observation that I made was simply that the tone portrayed in the reading was cold and dry. I observed that it carried no real emotion, merely explaining what real life is in America. The problem is that this passage is Richard M. Nixon’s voice and perspective. Mind you that our 37th president served during 1969-1974 a time when the inequality of race, color, creed was still a progressing issue, and also a time when we were involved in war.
The point is the opinion on freedom is biased and flawful. For example it starts out with illustrating for the reader the advancements of America. The amount of cars, houses, television sets, radios, clothing we have, which in my opinion is figuratively stating that these are the most important things to “us”. Subsequently creating this idea that America are in fact these superficial materials. That these things symbolize the life we live. Which in fact only a very small portion of America does live this life. But because Nixon later goes on to describe/inform the reader on a few freedoms that “us” have.
Which is what I find interesting about the speech is that this freedoms are listed toward the end of his speech, and two that only basic of freedoms are presented. Which I feel are freedoms that by justice moral humanity should be an unspoken law. So then here comes the question, what are Nixon’s beliefs on freedom as a whole society, including everyone that’s apart of America. Who is the “us” he’s referring too? What is real freedom? Our country was founded on hardworking individuals of all races, colors, creeds etc. on the idea that we as a whole would progress and conquer but only for the better good of our society to live in peace.
I write that to only illustrate the observation that I made of what Nixon was addressing in his speech. Which was an idea about what freedom was for a wealthy, republican American. Not what freedom is for everyone that lives in America. When relating this type of reading to the articles, lectures, issues etc…we discuss in class I see a pattern. It’s always the white dominating, it’s always media influencing our beliefs, it’s always the richer getting richer, the poorer getting poorer, and it’s always a division between who has what and who lacks what.
It’s never about the root of our country, which is the principles in which it was founded on. I believe this pattern paints a picture of what is truly important to the people with power, and what things are lacking importance to them. When thinking about freedom and the voices that present the freedom we must always stay true to ourselves, believe in the things you do to contribute, and always be critical thinkers about what is wrong and what is right for the better of our country.