Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Peoples' Poet

Leonardo Padrón said "freedom of expression is a writer's oxygen." This is a prime example of what Dr. A meant when she said that Padrón takes an widely-held sentiment and puts his finger on it, amplifying it. Obviously as a journalism student, freedom of expression is something we fight for and utilize every single day. I would even go so far to say that American citizens take it for granted and don't realize how essential it is, both for other civil liberties and as a civil liberty itself. Padrón was the most impressive guest we have had all semester because I walked away with several profound statements reverberating in my brain, primarily the freedom of expression metaphor, but also his reasoning for voluntarily remaining in a country that restricts his oxygen flow. My natural reaction would be to leave, I would not choose to stay in an oppressive nation. However, after listening to Padrón talk about his reasons for staying, I feel like my hypothetical reasons for fleeing lack a comprehensive view. He said, more or less, that if everyone who had a voice left Venezuela, the country would become an orphan and have no one fighting for it. This stuck out to me, both for its bravery and loyalty to promoting true change. Padrón could find another home and better lifestyle, but instead sacrifices his own prosperity for the eventual prosperity of others (hopefully). He said his proudest accomplishment is persevering in the novela genre, but I would argue his best accomplishment is persevering as a writer, despite being suffocated by a lack of expression.

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