01 July 2015

Sherpa's Four (or More) Freedoms

In his famous "Four Freedoms" speech, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described in January 1941 the four principles at stake in World War II. The freedoms he described, later visualized in a series of popular paintings by Norman Rockwell, were these:
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of worship
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from fear
In accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, Duke Ellington noted that his artistic collaborator Billy Strayhorn lived by four freedoms:
  • Freedom from hate
  • Freedom from self pity
  • Freedom from fear of doing something that would benefit someone else more than it would himself
  • Freedom from the pride that could make him feel that he was better than others
I've always loved Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech" painting. Back in my small town newspaper days, the ideals it depicted kept me going through many tedious public input, school board, and city council meetings: Everybody gets a voice, everybody gets a vote.

I love Strayhorn's ideals even more: Cool and warm, all at the same time.

This U.S. Independence Day, I invite you to consider for a moment the four freedoms you most enjoy. Maybe write them down. Maybe share them with others. I'll post mine below.

In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Be safe! Be responsible! And be excellent to each other!

Sherpa's Four Freedoms
  • Freedom from chemical latrines
  • Freedom from humorlessness
  • Freedom from presidential "contenders"
  • Freedom from the tyranny of too much social media

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