Opinions from Students: Defining Freedom

Narayan Núñez Blandón – Staff Writer 

This article was based on opinions of certain students. The statements of these students are not representative of the entire student body at Dordt College.

As the voting season approaches, mass media feeds Dordt College students with many political terms. One of such terms is the word freedom. Since the term “freedom” is constantly used by political leaders, it is important to obtain an idea of what some students at Dordt College think about the definition and usage of the term ”freedom” in political issues.

“The United States is one the first things that comes to my mind when I hear the word ‘freedom,’” said Freshman Esteban Gracia. “[The U.S] is the only country to have freedom to think, to grow as a person, to grow in your career.” Gracia believes that freedom is associated with opportunities for personal development in any area of interest.

“[Freedom] is more like growing as a person rather than doing whatever you want,” Gracia said. “Some people think freedom is having guns. I believe freedom is more about having opportunities.”

Not far from the idea of freedom is opportunities for growth. Junior student from Canada Chris Soodsma believes that freedom is the opportunity to live without restraint or oppression. “Freedom is equality in the sense that you can be what you want regardless of what others say,” Soodsma said. “There is an authority and it changes the things we can do, but I am submitted to God and His laws are above the government.”

Although Soodsma stated that he does not speak for all the Canadian students at Dordt, he believes that a good number of Canadian students would agree with his statement about freedom.

Unlike Gracia or Soodsma who associate freedom to terms like opportunities to increase one’s wellbeing, junior student Tommy Pomephanh connects the term with an unexpected feeling: fear.

Although he is a U.S. citizen since birth, because of his Laotian heritage and his short experience living in Laos, Pomephanh understands the Laotians’ style of living. In the communist country of Laos, many citizens live in fear of uncertainty: food and income insecurity and oppression from the army are some issues many Laotian face.

“I think when I hear freedom, I think it is being free from fear; not having to worry about anything, knowing that you are secure in all your basic needs,” Pomephanh said. “A lot of people (here) when they hear the term freedom, they think of political freedom. I think that for the people of Laos it means more freedom of survival, and getting what they need in order to live our lives. I think that is a major contrast between the freedoms.”

Many students at Dordt hold strong ideas regarding to what freedom stands for. When asked if they felt that the government threatens their freedoms, many recognized that there are certain suspicious activities that government do. Nonetheless, a big group of students said that their current freedom are not being touched.

Sport Management junior, Jeremy Goedeke believes that the United State is a land of freedom and opportunity. He recognizes the power government holds but he does not fear it. “I think that in some cases the government threaten certain freedoms, but personally I do not feel that my freedoms are threatened by it,” he said.

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