I don't really need to define what independence is, but more and more, I feel like we need to define what it isn't. It doesn't include fear of expression in any form. Nor does it include fear of a particular group--any group, friendly or hostile. True independence shouldn't really include an outside influence at all, full stop. True independence should come from an absolute feeling of security that you are a worthy individual, that your choices, your instincts, your emotional responses to any given situation are all valid and worthy of time and respect.
But (and here where it can get sticky for most of us at one time or another), it also includes allowing space for those with whom you do not agree to express themselves. True independence allows for expression as well as reception. True independence would allow us to air thoughts and ideas without fear of retribution and, without being pinned by the fear-reaction, a true space for the shifting of ideas, and the opening of eyes and minds.
Have faith. True independence is inevitable, and the good news is that it begins within. It begins with the pure and simple act of listening--to yourself and, once you can hear and believe that voice, to anyone else who stands up and opens her mouth to speak. With your new center, untethered by tyranny, you are at ease to listen, to respond--not from fear, but from freedom.