As the nation goes full swing into another election year to determine which party will occupy the White House and possible control the House and Senate, both parties and all candidates and pundits will at some point speak of “Freedom”. No doubt everyone has a concept of freedom but are all these concepts the same? Not by a longshot.
This nation consists of over 320 million people. Of these people, we have numerous ethnic and racial backgrounds (Caucasians, African, Native, Asian, Semitic, Hispanic, etc.) and even these groups break themselves down to more specific groups of ethnic/racial divides. There are over 320 different religions and denominations in this country and like with ethnic and racial backgrounds, some of these religions break down to smaller groups based on interpretation and emphasis on some matter of theology. We have over 50 political parties throughout the United States and again, especially among the major parties, they break themselves down to smaller groups. We have the 1%, the upper middle-class, middle-class, working class, impoverished class. Further, not only do we have males and females, we have hermaphroditic and cross gendered people. We have people of heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and asexual orientation. Finally as per the Supreme Court, we not only have “people” we have Corporations with the same rights of naturally born people. All of these groups and more, have varying degrees of ideology, values, morality and principals. However all of these people share one thing in common, they are all Americans guaranteed by the 14th amendment equal rights, though many in certain groups will argue that point.
So if we are to hold the Constitution of the United States as supreme in this nation and the principal that this is a nation of law, all of these people share another thing in common as native born or naturalized United States citizens, “Freedom” shared by all. Further, not only do they all share the same freedoms, they should share the same rights to practice their freedoms. Obvious, many would think; but the history of this nation and the rhetoric being heard in this campaign season speaks otherwise.
Freedom isn’t so simple because to give blanket freedom to all is to invite anarchy. There must be limits to freedoms so as to not infringe on the freedoms of others. I do not have the freedom to take your car because I lack one myself. You do not have the freedom to take up residence in my home uninvited because you do not have a place to live. I do not have the freedom to endanger your life nor you I, because we do limit freedoms as they conflict with others and lead to discourse within the community jeopardizing public safety and cohesion. This is also the issues with “rights”.
I have yet to hear any compelling argument or historic research that states unequivocally that any class of United States citizen is excluded from exercising any right or freedom guaranteed in the Constitution or that any particular right or provision in the Constitution carries more weight than another. Under the constitution, not only are all people equal under the law, “rights” carry the same weight. The right to bear arms isn’t greater than the right of free speech nor is it the other way around. However it is true that in the real world, rights and freedoms can and will conflict with one another. When this occurs, it is the responsibility of legislatures and executives to propose, legislate and enact laws and regulations that level the playing field so as to not give one view or position extraordinary power and influence over another. This is why our right to vote and be heard is so important, so we can ensure those we elect to office and those they select to sit on the Courts recognize that common sense approach to a smooth operation of our democracy.
It does not devalue or lesson our rights and freedoms by interjecting responsibility, fairness and humanity into the equation. However many think it does and will go out by all means to ensure their priorities of rights and freedoms trumps all others. It is no surprise that those who do tend to do this have the money and influence over elected government to ensure their rights and freedoms do in fact trump yours. Today, many try to conflate religious freedom with the freedom to discriminate against others.
We always have been and will always be a class society. A classless society of over 320 million people isn’t possible. As Orwell pointed out in Animal Farm, when you try to instill a classless society and set up a structure to ensure it, you end up with “all animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This is the failure of large scale communism. Democracy can work under a class system, providing that one class doesn’t trump the other in power, voice and influence. However the only way to prevent that is avid knowledge of, and active participation in, the system by all. Despite the efforts of modern day feudal lords like the Koch Brothers and those they employ, ordinary Americans do have a voice if they only choose to exercise it. It is no surprise that more inclusive and populace government emerges when a higher percentage of voters exercise that right than when fewer do.
When you look at the overall platforms of the two major parties vying for wins in 2016 one thing is very apparent, the Republican Party will push for the “Freedom” to exert a fringe rightwing agenda based on an interpretation of Christianity upon the whole of the American People. They want the freedom to limit the rights of Women, LGBT, Minorities and others to exercise their rights to make their own choices regarding their reproduction, who they marry, voting, assembly, access and care. The freedom they appear to support more than anything else is the freedom to take rights guaranteed to all citizens from them so they can have greater power, influence and voice over everything in this nation. Is it any wonder that the majority of funding for the GOP comes from a small number of big donors who are in the 1% and are corporations?
As for the Democrats, they are pushing for the freedom to marry who you choose, make the decision for your reproductive rights, freedom to get the same healthcare and education to thrive and survive others can obtain, but you can’t afford, the right to vote unencumbered based merely on your socioeconomic status, race or age, your rights to enjoy safe water, food, clean air again needed to thrive and survive. They are for expanding more freedoms, more rights than the Republicans who want to limit them by law. Is it any wonder that the majority of Democratic campaign funds come from small individual donors?
Are the Democrats perfect? Not by a long shot. Many will introduce pro corporate agendas that run counter to the overall message. However that is to be expected and no matter how you look at it and measure it, it’s a far better deal from them than you will ever get from the Republicans. In fact from what I can tell, the only rights and freedoms the Republicans want to provide for the masses (at least the white masses) is the right to obtain, carry and use any classification of guns and ammunition on the streets of this nation. Not sure how that helps the nation as a hold since every validated study clearly shows that more unregulated gun ownership makes people unsafe, not safer. But that’s another rant.
So, if you believe in the same rights and freedoms for all regardless of whatever class or classification you may be in, governed and regulated by fair and enforceable laws to keep the playing field even and not prevent you from doing better for yourself and your family, you want to research and vote moderate towards left. However if you believe that only a select few in this nation are deserving of nearly full and unregulated, ungoverned freedoms to do for themselves what you can’t, you want to vote far right.
Most of you, despite efforts by the extreme right, still have the right to research and vote your choice. Do it while you still can because the pattern from the Republican Party clearly shows that like Animal Farm, all Americans are created equal, but some Americans are more equal than other so sit down and shut up.
Freedoms and rights, use them or lose them.