Highlights: What Does "Free Country" Mean To You?

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word cloud of listener responses to the question "what does 'it's a free country' mean to you?"

As we launched the It's A Free Country project, we had a number of guiding questions in our mind. What's broken in our current political system, if anything? What exactly does "It's A Free Country" mean? What can a new political hub add to civil conversation? We put this question not just to the professionals on our line-up of reporters and producers, but to you as well. Here are some highlights. You can see the full set of responses here, and continue to add your voice here. Here are some responses to the question What does the phrase "It's A Free Country" mean to you?

You are free to do as you please as long as you are not trampling on other people's freedoms. -- Marvin Schneider

The constitution. -- gdbayside

It means I can formulate and voice my views without fear of imprisonment. It also means I am responsible for the effect my expressions have on others. -- MMN

Opportunity. -- g.e. Taylor

To me as an inmigrant living in this country for 30 years and loving it even before i came here. is having your future in your hands making of your life whatever you want not whatever you can speaking your mind without fear having almost the same rigths as the rich and powerful under the law is priceless and most inmigrants like me know what i'm talking about. -- Alejand

I think the concept of a "free country" is immaturely conceived by most Americans. I think they interpret it as they can do anything they want regardless of law or the responsibility to a social order and to other people. Thus the abundance of cheating on taxes, speeding and an anti-government sentiment.I believe people don't understand that "free" simply means we are not owned, enslaved, subjects or serfs and that we are still a country of laws. I feel that too many Americans feel that this former perception is their birthright. -- Frank Senger

Nothing! I find the reference that the US is a "free country", just another means by which ueber nationalistic types advance an us vs. them agenda. To a large degree this sentiment has much to do with the need of some in the country to convince themselves of US exceptionalism. -- MikeinBrklyn

Among other things, a country where our information is not censored and manipulated by media with a hidden agenda. Without knowledge of what's going on, we are free only to be sheep. -- Will Galison

These days, it means that I have to work very hard to find some semblance of a truth through the cacophony of strident voices throwing around labels and soundbites that confuse, not clarify the issues. But, it's still better than the alternative - i.e. a not free country! -- Leslie3174