A restaurant in California is now requiring proof that you are not vaccinated before they will serve you because, the owner told the Los Angeles Times, “we chose to fire another missile of defiance to further make our point in defense of American liberty and freedom.”
Republicans are running a scam about “freedom” and they’ve been pushing it for a very, very long time. Sadly, people are still buying it.
New Hampshire Republican Governor John Sununu just signed into law a new “Medical Freedom” bill that makes it illegal for any public venue to require proof of vaccination for entry to any event. The New Hampshire GOP explicitly wants their citizens to be “free” to be stricken with a deadly virus by idiots who don’t “believe” in vaccines.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that hits cruise lines and other businesses with huge fines if they require proof of vaccination because “freedom”; cruise lines are suing to try to get around it so they can offer their passengers a trip free of disease.
A dozen or so other Republican states have passed or are considering similar legislation, with several having already passed laws that hit small business owners with fines or jail time if they choose to only serve people who are protected from Covid with a vaccine. All, they say, for “freedom.”
Here in Oregon the “Freedom Foundation” has sued our governor to prevent our state from having “vaccine passports,” while Nebraska’s governor, billionaire Pete Ricketts says he’s opposed to requiring proof of vaccination because it limits “freedom.”
These bizarre definitions of freedom go way back in the Republican Party; they got major traction in 1921 when Republican President Warren Harding invoked “freedom” as a rationale to deregulate banking and stock brokerage companies and massively cut taxes on the morbidly rich, leading straight to the Republican Great Depression of 1929.
To this day, Republicans and the billionaires who own them have been slapping the word “freedom” on everything they can find.
The Republicans who are most heavily funded by the rightwing fossil fuel billionaire network have created what they call the “Freedom Caucus” in Congress.
Trump’s Department of Energy renamed methane natural gas as “Freedom Gas,” releasing a press release that read, in part: “Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world…”
And it’s hard to forget when the French were less than enthusiastic about our invading Iraq based on Bush and Cheney’s lies that Republicans in the House renamed the French Fries on their dining room’s menu as “Freedom Fries.” It went national, with a Florida County Administrator saying, “We’ll declare that all the potatoes previously called French fries in our county will now be called freedom fries or American fries,” and the president of the Fuddruckers restaurant chain vowing, “We are recognizing those who are prepared to fight for us today” by renaming their potatoes.
Republicans outraged that Twitter and Facebook have banned Trump from their platforms have started the “Freedom From Big Tech Caucus” to pretend to care about monopolies and predatory business practices…and the reduction of their “freedom” to use private commercial platforms to lie to Americans about elections and viruses.
Republican voters are apparently such suckers for anything with the word “freedom” on it that they’re lining up to buy cheap off-brand Chinese-made smartphones that Erik Finman, “the world’s youngest bitcoin billionaire” is calling “Freedom Phones.” (Hint: they’re apparently more vulnerable to hacking than many other phones; you’re “free” to try to keep the hackers out all by yourself.)
But the simple reality is the opposite of the Republican sales pitch:
· You’re not free if you’re old and deep in poverty, so we have Social Security (although the GOP wants to hand it over to Wall Street).
· You’re not free if you’re hungry, so we have food stamps/SNAP (although the GOP wants to end them).
· You’re not free if you’re homeless, so we have housing assistance and homeless shelters (although the GOP fights every effort to help homeless people).
· You’re not free if you’re sick and can’t get medical care, so we have Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare (although the GOP wants to gut them all).
· You’re not free if you’re working 40 hours a week and still can’t meet basic expenses, so we have minimum wage laws and the right to unionize (although the GOP wants to end both).
· You’re not free if you can’t read, so we have free public schools (although the GOP is actively working to privatize them and absolutely opposes free college).
· You’re not free if you can’t vote, so we’ve passed numerous laws to guarantee the right to vote (although the GOP is, as you’re reading these words, “purging” people from voting rolls in state after state, among other ways of making it harder to vote).
More and more Americans are starting to see through the “freedom” scam the GOP’s been running for exactly 100 years this January, and are leaving the Party in droves.
Thus, to salvage their chances to “win” elections with a shrinking voter base, the GOP has started a massive nationwide voter suppression campaign. Since January 6th, fully one-third of the states in the nation, all Republican controlled, have passed voter suppression laws.
The question now is how they’ll market voter suppression as their latest twist on “freedom.” You know they’re going to try…
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