Michael Divine

Writings :


Relative Freedoms

As a kid growing up in the 80's there was this beast, interspersed between grammar school doldrums and the Transformers, that simmered half a world away and it was called Communism. It threatened to nuke us all if we didn't nuke it first. Ronald Reagan gave speeches. We hid under our desks or out in the halls to prepare for possible nuclear war. (Like that'd ever help....) This vague threat loomed in every movie we watched and every cartoon - always as some vaguely caricatured Russian or German speaking in terms of "Comrade" and wearing a hat with earflaps because we all knew it was cold in communist Russia and the Commies had to keep their ears warm.

Like a shot in the dark, in 1990,and just before we all sank into the national teen angst of grunge rock, there - plastered across our TV screens - the Berlin Wall, that one barrier between Us and Them, fell. Or, rather, it was knocked out with pick-axes and shovels and bare hands; the result of diplomacy, politics, and changing tides. From the comfort of my living room, at the age of 14, images of people celebrating a newfound sense of freedom flickered across the television screen. This was momentous for them and, for us, a new vague sense emerged: that something had changed and we were all a little more free and could breathe a bit more peacefully knowing that not so many nuclear warheads were trained on us. I'd grown up wanting my MTV just because that's what MTV told me I wanted. They grew up wanting their MTV because they couldn't even turn it on when their parents weren't home. They weren't allowed it at all. Now they could scream it out loud if they wanted to. Now they had the freedom to voice their opinions and excel at their dreams, should they choose to. With that freedom of choice, we have far more than we realize.

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