Freedom for all -- with my rules
The sketchy politics of political scolds
(As you know, usually this newsletter is about San Francisco. This is a departure to a national view. It’s not something I do often. But I had to get this off my chest. Also, I was driving my wife crazy talking about it.)
As this week’s political primaries wound down it became a regular feature. A Republican winner would take the stage and begin a riff about freedom.
Pennsylvania GOP primary winner Doug Mastriano said in his acceptance speech that “we all want freedom.” For example, he said, when he takes over “on day one, mask mandates are gone.”
Over one million people died in the COVID epidemic. The overwhelming majority of them refused to be vaccinated. But that was their choice, right? They put their health and life on the line because they refused to be told what to do. They wanted to make their own decision.
That’s how it works, the Mastriano’s of the world say. We make our own choices in the land of the free.
Unless you disagree with them.
Then you have to do what they say.
Consider the woman who does not want to be a mother. And let’s don’t complicate it. It is just that simple. A woman decides she does not want to make a choice that will change and affect the rest of her life. And, very early in the pregnancy, before the baby can viably live outside the womb, Roe vs. Wade says she has the right to decide to terminate the pregnancy.
Oh no you don’t, say the pro-life fanatics. They don’t know the woman, her circumstances or her mental or emotion state. They don’t care if she wants to be a mother or not.
She has to have the baby. Because they know what is best. For everyone.
If you are gay or transgender, you’ve gone through an emotional life experience. Let’s don’t pretend it isn’t a big deal. There is much more acceptance today. But acknowledging your gender identity, and making it public, is not easy. Coming out means opening yourself to potential abuse, scorn and prejudice. It’s a tough choice.
Nope, say Gov. Ron DiSantis’s of Florida. His “don’t say gay” law means you can’t even discuss sexual orientation in the first four years of public school. Presumably, that includes same sex parents sending their child to school and the possibility that a classmate may wonder why Tommy has two moms or two dads.
Because, DiSantis says, “Florida is the freest state in America.
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The disconnect doesn’t faze them. They trumpet their commitment to freedom while imposing their rules, their values on everyone. They are stiff-necked Rev. Arthur Dimmesdales from the Scarlet letter, and those who disagree with them are Hester Prynne, condemned to shame.
And it goes beyond that. It is not enough to impose your will on someone else. That person must be punished if they don’t follow your personal beliefs.
When the Disney corporation mildly and tentatively criticized DiSantis’s “don’t say gay” bill, the governor attacked. He stripped Disney of its special governing powers and is now proposing that the state of Florida take over the governing body that oversees Disney World.
How dare they disagree with him. His rules. Follow them or pay the price.
Missouri and Oklahoma are two states who are not only proposing to ban all abortions, but make it a crime to provide one. There are proposals to make it illegal to cross a state line to get an abortion. And Texas already has a law allowing citizens to collect a bounty for turning in someone who has an abortion or provides one.
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All of which is wildly out of step with mainstream America.
You can cite polls if you’d like, but ever since 2016 and Donald Trump, I’d be more likely to trust one of those additives to improve my memory. (Although I’d probably forget to take them.)
It’s probably better to use personal experience.
For nearly 50 years women have been getting safe, legal abortions. Who among us doesn’t know someone who had an abortion? It is an incredibly difficult choice, and not happy one. It is not something most women discuss with strangers But women have been getting the procedure for decades.
To equate that with murder? That is the definition of holier than thou.
Here’s another example from our living room.
In our house we watch the TV shows “9-1-1” and “9-1-1 Lone Star.” And yes, it is pretty silly stuff. (In one episode a volcano erupted in Austin, Texas, during a swimming pool party.)
But it is kind of a fun distraction for a few hours. And the ratings — over five million viewers for 9-1-1 — make them two of the top scripted shows on national TV.
But here’s the thing. In 9-1-1, two of the main characters are in an interracial marriage. And the woman, who is black, was divorced from her previous husband when he came out as gay.
Recently in one of the shows, two gay men announced their engagement. And in celebration they shared a long, passionate kiss.
Again, all of this is happening on national, network television. There have been no protests, no sanctions, no boycotts.
It simply not a big deal. And there are plenty of other examples. Marijuana, the demon weed, is well on the way to being legal in all 50 states.
Stiff-necked nags like DiSantis and Mastriano should be reminded that this is the real America.
Feel free to do so.
Contact C.W. Nevius at email@example.com. Twitter: @cwnevius