The "Freedom" America's Billionaires Are Selling Is Killing Us

Thom plus logo America's rightwing billionaires comfortably hang out on their massive estates, giving instant Covid tests to their live-in servants, while using the word "freedom" to describe their lifestyle in the rightwing media they own or support. The headline yesterday over at Newsmax reads, "No Masking Biden's Disdain For Freedom" and one at RedState references "Covid Tyranny."

Wealthy right wingers have been telling us this sort of thing for years: that "socialist" programs and regulations that help or protect average people diminish America's freedom.

Freedomworks and their followers in the Tea Party argued that Obamacare and Medicare destroyed American's "freedom" to choose not to have healthcare or get any support or benefits from the government when they get sick.

Mitch McConnell and Republicans in the Senate are refusing to pass Covid relief because giving unemployed people money diminishes their "freedom" and discourages their "incentive" to look for a job.

Trump's press secretary said, this morning on Fox News, that states like Oregon should not be allowed to enforce public health measures: "That's not the American way. We don't lose our freedom in this country, we make responsible health decisions as individuals."

Republicans have a bizarre notion of what that word "freedom" means. But Americans who don't have live-in chefs and pilots for their private jets are more inclined to agree with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who pointed out in 1933, that "a necessitous man is not a free man."

If you're hooked up to a ventilator and can't breathe, you're not free.

If you're sick and can't afford to pay for healthcare, you're not free.

If you're hungry and can't buy food for your family, you're not free.

If your landlord has thrown you out in the street because you can't pay your rent, you're not free.

If you're afraid to hang out with your own family because you don't want your at-risk relatives to die from coronavirus and your government is refusing to do comprehensive testing and contact tracing, you're not free.

The majority of Americans, polls show, want a different kind of freedom than that described by Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues in Congress.

Average Americans overwhelmingly want a national healthcare program so that nobody will ever again go bankrupt because they got sick, a situation that happens a half-million times a year in America and never, ever happens in any other developed country in the world.

They want free education through college or trade school, and quality primary schools, so every young person who didn't grow up on a billionaire estate can also achieve their full potential without bankrupting their parents or spending decades in debt bondage.

They want food and housing to be rights, not privileges, as Franklin Roosevelt proposed with his "Second Bill of Rights" in 1944.

Right wing billionaires insist that "freedom" means the right to die in debt, to remain uneducated, and to be hungry and homeless while working crap jobs at minimum wage to make the billionaires richer.

They say "freedom" means the right of a small number of morbidly rich people to suck up all the assets and resources of society, leaving almost nothing for the working class. Unemployment benefits and the minimum wage, in their universe, are the opposite of "freedom."

They argue that the real meaning of "freedom" is more tax cuts for billionaires and more poison and pollution for everybody else. If your air or water are contaminated by industry, you should just suck it up because "freedom."

And now they're telling us that "freedom" means not just the right to kill other Americans with corporate pollution, but that "free people" have the "right," without consequences, to infect other Americans with a deadly, debilitating disease.

As a result, people who watch billionaire Murdock's Fox News, read billionaire Zuckerberg's Facebook, or follow rightwing websites funded by the billionaire Koch network walk into stores without masks and plan holiday get-togethers, spreading Covid all around the country.

The billionaire idea of "freedom" is literally killing us.

-Thom

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