By Johann Vunderpunke
I always had problems with Europeans. Generally, I thought they were rude. They said whatever they thought, regardless of consequence, the only mediating factor being that the more polite ones might deliver the message in a daintier package. But one way or the other you were pretty much guaranteed to hear about everything they like and don’t like whether you cared to hear it or not.
I always found the vulgarity of the English and Irish a bit shocking. I thought they went out of their way to shock people with words we just don’t use in the United States unless we are completely drunk and amongst only the closest friends. I always thought we were a bit more civilized then they were because we showed some verbal restraint, at least in New Hampshire.
I never in a million years thought I would grow into a person more or less like them, spitting out whatever I though, sometimes with a spoonfull of honey and sometimes littered with vulgarity. Today, I realize there is no alternative for a free society but complete and absolute honesty, even the emotional honesty that comes with ugly language and aggressive verbiage. I think freer speech means a freer society...it certainly makes me feel more free.
I personally have grown immensely from publicly spilling my guts about every little thing I ever thought about life. Totally out of my element, completely out of my safety zone, and far from the manners I grew up using and believing in, I expressed every morsel of my soul to complete strangers, in a public setting. And then I moved on, with nothing left to say on those issues that I felt in my heart.
I moved on, knowing full well that a bottled up America hasn’t found the courage to say what they really feel and may feel compelled to an alternate future, not of moving on but of falling deeper levels of fear. In difficult times people forget that tyranny exists all around them. And sometimes choosing against one type of tyranny sometimes puts one square in the control of another.
I can't say that Europeans are more free than Americans. But it seems that if the British House of Commons were more polite it wouldn't be more representative of the feelings of the people. So maybe government can be a little less polite and a little more representative and all hell won't break loose.
I figure if you can howl at the moon, you’ll remember what it is to be wild. And maybe in being wild you will remember you are free.