Misha Villanueva

Land of the Free?

Land of the free? Why must we call ourselves the "land of the free" when we lock up more of our own fellow citizens than any other civilized nation. We have kicked Natives off this free land to call it "My Land". It seems as if we live with hypocrisy on a daily basis. Our government uses words like “defense budget” which as we know, is really an offensive budget for war and imperialism. Our government uses terms like “operation Iraq freedom” not to give the people freedom but to take over their natural resources. “Rehabilitation” is yet another term that our government uses, but to me it means slavery. Words have meaning, you must look in between the words to understand where the illusions lay. In my piece I want to show the American flag, but not on cloth canvas, on a canvas of slip cast ceramic prison trays. These trays represent the prisoners that are doing years for nonviolent offenses. These trays are for the people that have been wrongly imprisoned. These trays are for our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents and godparents, sons and daughters. Whose life has been sacrificed on the alter of Capitalism. I understand that some criminals do owe society and need to pay it off their debt. But through our corporate lobbying political system many nonviolent offenders have had their lives stripped away for profit. The prison system is a $74 billion industry, an industry where profits eclipse the GDP of over 133 nations. The American prison system is not only public but it is also been privatized. Companies like the Corrections Corporation of America recorded 1.64 billion in revenue, putting profits before people. Twenty five percent of the world’s total prison population is locked up here. This is the United States of America LAND OF THE FREE.
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