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Four freedoms plus one more

Jamelle Bouie writes in the New York Times about Four Freedoms, According to the Republicans. They include:

  1. The freedom to control — to restrict the bodily autonomy of women and repress the existence of anyone who does not conform to traditional gender roles.
  2. The freedom to exploit — to allow the owners of business and capital to weaken labor and take advantage of workers as they see fit.
  3. The freedom to censor — to suppress ideas that challenge and threaten the ideologies of conservatives and the ruling class.
  4. The freedom to menace — to carry weapons wherever you please, to brandish them in public, to turn the right of self-defense into a right to threaten other people.

I liked the list a lot.

I’d argue that Bouie is talking about the right wing of the Republican party and that more rationale, moderate Republicans would not agree to or condone all four of these freedoms, but sadly, that far right, MAGA wing wields enormous power in the Republican party today, and based upon that power, it might now represent the heart of the Republican party.

When the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Paul Gosar are dictating Republican agendas, the party has essentially been turned over to them.

It’s not hard to see how these four freedoms are playing out today.

The overturning of abortion rights, the marginalization and outright attacks on transgender people, the refusal of Republicans to pass overwhelmingly popular, common sense legislation like universal background checks on all gun purchases, the enormous rise in book banning, and legislation designed to erode the strength of labor and unions are all very real Republican pursuits.

Just this week, Republicans in Texas passed a law that nullifies ordinances enacted by Austin in 2010 and Dallas in 2015 that established mandated, ten-minute breaks every four hours so construction workers can drink water and protect themselves from the sun. The law also prevents other cities from passing such rules in the future.

Texas, of course, is the state where the most workers die from high temperatures, government data shows. But a mandated, ten-minute water break every four hours was too much regulation for the Republican lawmakers to bear.

Again, I’d argue that my Republican friends don’t support many or any of these far-right agendas. Still, they are members of a party that is actively, aggressively, and relentlessly pursuing these agendas, and as long as rational Republicans remain within the party, supporting the organization financially and politically, they risk supporting these agendas.

I’d also like to add a fifth freedom to Bouie’s list:

The freedom of hypocrisy in the pursuit of power — to support a twice impeached, twice indicted former President who lied to the American people about the dangers of COVID, paid hush money to a porn star, operated a fake charity that stole millions from Americans, operated a fake university that stole millions from Americans, stole, disclosed, and refused to return top secret documents to the United States government, and remained silent for more than three hours while a crowd of rioters and teams from at least two paramilitary militias attacked the United States capitol in a coordinated effort to stop the peaceful transfer of power and threaten the murder of the vice president and other lawmakers.

He also referred to Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people,” enacted a travel ban on Muslims, revealed classified information to the Russian ambassador inside the Oval Office and endangered the life of an Israeli spy in the process, separated migrant children from their parents at the border (some of whom were never reunited), and altered a meteorological map with a Sharpie after he misstated the path of a hurricane.

Admittedly, my freedom is not as concise as any in Bouie’s list, but I had a lot of material to work with.