The True Cost of American Freedom is it really worth it?
By Rob Fleming
Maybe I was fortunate to have been born a middle-class white kid from Southern California because I was sheltered from many of the ugliest events of the fight for civil rights and true American freedom. I remember growing up and being told how my forefathers fought long and hard for the right to be free and how every American was blessed with the God-given right of equality and the right to stand up and be heard and I rightly formed the idea that my country was truly the greatest nation that ever lived, sadly as I grew older and began to experience first hand how false those force fed historical facts were, I began to resent not only my government but the so called teachers and leaders of my great country who have built an elaborate facade in the name of American freedom, and now more than ever I am ashamed of my so called government leaders and everyone who perpetuates this two faced lie of American Freedom that is really conditional freedom!
Although I called myself a white kid, I don’t know if that truly fits as my mother is of Armenian and German-Polish ancestry, and my father is of Scotish & Irish decent, making me an interesting mix, to say the least, but for all intents and purposes I suppose I am just mostly a white looking person, so whatever. What is important to me is as I grew up I discovered music, in my early youth I was into what the rest of the kids in my neighborhood were into, mostly Rock N Roll, but as I begin to learn how to play the guitar, I soon discovered the blues, R &B and the heart behind the Rock N Roll I listened to on the radio.
It wasn’t long until like most teenagers, I found my rebellious voice and I let it open new doors, one of them was the Punk lifestyle. I was hardly a typical punk, I didn’t wear the cool clothes punks did, and I hardly fit into that store-bought mold. but in my heart, I knew I was very different from the other kids in school, the places I hung out. the things that were important to me and so forth and somehow being punk answered a lot of questions for me…at first.
So here is this misfit kid, just trying to fit in somewhere, but mostly unacceptable by most of the social classes, so I did my best to fit in on my own, in my head and what I believed. Sadly, those values would be smashed one by one by the very system that helped me create them, thank God that I was intelligent enough to discover the truth, even though it took most of twenty years to do so.
While on a destructive path of self-discovery, I began drinking heavily and using drugs. I was so lost that I used drink and dope to calm my loneliness, the emptiness from not knowing how to fit in and always afraid of being rejected. I was able for a short time channel it into the music I was writing at the time, but because I was so consumed with drinking and getting high that I let it ruin every meaningful relationship and everything I attempted such as my band, and later my Tattoo shop, and anything of meaning and value I ever attempted. Along the way, I got plenty of superficial views of racism and I was totally oblivious of the true face of racism until I found myself in the deep south on one of my many attempts at leaving my past behind and hitting the road. Continue reading on the next page