Nine Ways the Far Right is Bringing You Freedom

To hear the far right tell it, their movement and their ideology is all about freedom. The Massachusetts Tea Party website has a Blog for Freedom, the Worcester Tea Party page proclaims it supports “Freedom for All,” and the NH Tea Party site has a Freedom Forum. So I searched for some ways the far right has been trying to bring you freedom now or in the future. Here are the ways that stand out:

1. Freedom to Pee in Cup. Far right groups in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Kentucky have pushed through laws that require people whose lives are already pretty crappy to pee in cups in order to get welfare benefits. Getting a passing grade for their pee in a drug test proves that they aren’t the undeserving poor. The far right claimed this would save taxpayers money. In Florida so far it has cost taxpayers an extra $45,780.

2. Freedom to Show Your Papers. In Arizona the far right has put in place the infamous “show me your papers law.” They swear up and down that it’s not about racial profiling. How awkward for them that thousands of e-mails just surfaced involving the author of the law, which characterize Hispanic immigrants like so: “It’s like importing leper colonies and hope we don’t catch leprosy.”

3. Freedom to Show Your ID to Vote. In 30 states including New Hampshire, the far right has put in place laws that will require all voters to show ID at the polls. Unless you just fell off the back of a turnip truck, you understand that this is about voter suppression.

4. Freedom from Having Gay and Lesbian People Love Each Other. According to CBS News, “conservatives have put anti-gay marriage laws on the books in 31 states since 1998.” They say it’s to protect the rest of us from the “gay agenda.” Same sex marriage has now been legal in Massachusetts for 8 years. Whatever your orientation, ask yourself, are you any gayer than you were 8 years ago? I bet not.

5. Freedom from Privacy. Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recently fanned the hopes of those who hope to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Scalia told an audience that “the Court’s recognition of a constitutional right to privacy — the basis of Roe v. Wade — is a “total absurdity.” In the Roe decision, the Court said a right to privacy was older than the Constitution and predates the Magna Carta. An inferred constitutional right to privacy was also the basis for court rulings that struck laws against contraceptives and laws that extended the reach of the government into the bedroom to make some sex acts unlawful. The far right freedom agenda includes the belief that your sex life is the government’s business.

6. Freedom to Speak Only English. The far right proposed a bill in the U.S. House that would make your official language English. The Federal Language Nanny would be on your case. Mitt Romney gets a grade of “B” from the language nannies at ProEnglish. They want to end bilingual education and bilingual ballots.

7. Freedom from Choice. Since 1995, the forces of the far right have enacted 713 anti-choice measures in the states, including the infamous mandatory TransVaginal Ultrasound, which many labeled “state rape.” Recently, the far right has pushed measures in Minnesota and Ohio that would require any woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy to get the “father’s permission.” This would put the U.S. in line with Iran on that issue. Can you say “Sharia Law”?

8. Freedom to Pray When You Are Told. Just so there won’t be any confusion about what the “real” religion is in this country, the far right is determined to put state-led prayer back in our public schools. According to the website “God Discussion,” numerous state GOP platforms “embrace the notion that the United States is a Judeo-Christian nation” and that our religious liberties are “under attack.” Florida just took its first step in the direction of state-sponsored prayer.

9. Freedom to Pollute. Thanks to the far right, if you happen to own a large coal-fired power plant, you will be free to dump mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, and other toxic pollutants into the air m— and to discharge pollutants into the water and let others pay for it with their health. According to a minority report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee: “In the last 18 months, the House has voted 247 times to undermine protection of the environment.” In short, the Kochs are free to pollute, and you and your children are free to breathe in all that mercury and drink up all that arsenic.

There are plenty more examples out there, from DADT to DOMA to from peeing in a cup for unemployment benefits. And there’s more freedom coming your way, thanks to the freedom agenda of the far right. What’s your favorite?