Freedom Oxymorons of Republicans

From WaPo -TAMPA, FL – JULY 27: Families protest any potential mask mandates before the Hillsborough County Schools Board meeting held at the district office on July 27, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended those who are vaccinated should wear masks indoors including students returning to school. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Freedom Oxymorons of Republicans

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes concepts with opposing meanings within a word or phrase that creates an ostensible self-contradiction (Wikipedia).

Oxymoron

Bullying people during a pandemic because they want to follow health guidelines and wear a mask to save their families, and calling it protecting “freedom.”

Masks are not even like seatbelts. They are a temporary barrier between we the people and a nasty air borne disease.

Oxymoron

Chanting “we will not comply” and “there’s a place for you in hell” when a school board in Tennessee thought students should use masks to make attending school full time safe. Some parents who do not want to send their children to school in masks, telling a health care expert who gave testimony at the meeting that “he can leave freely” but we “know where you live,” scaring parents and children in order to force school officials to allow them to send their children to school unmasked, and calling it “freedom.”

Oxymoron

Donald Trump, an American President, telling the department that is supposed to provide justice for the American people to just say the 2020 election results were fraudulent and he would do the rest, in the name of “freedom.”

Oxymoron

The Texas legislature wanting to pass laws that give one party, the Republicans, oversight over future elections in the name of “freedom.”

Democrats do not want to provide a quorum to allow a vote on making it possible to overturn the votes of the people of Texas. They can now be arrested and forced to return so the legislation can come up for a totally partisan vote, in the name of “freedom.”

Oxymoron

Greg Abbott, Texas governor, sets up a system in which your neighbors can police your reproductive behavior by suing an abortion provider if they suspect you had an abortion, in the name of “freedom.”

Oxymoron

Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, has decreed that all children must return to school full time without masks as the COVID delta variant ravages his state, and he does this in the name of “freedom.”

Oxymoron

The US Supreme Court allows the US House of Representatives access to only two years of Trump’s taxes, in order to protect the power of the president, and they do it in the name of “freedom.”

A guy who invented a pillow is predicting violence on August 13th and inciting Trump devotees to a January 6freeth do-over, because a coup to overthrow our democracy is being called for, in the name of “freedom.” 

Tucker Carlsen went to Hungary with a big, old grin on his face to interview Viktor Orbán, the illiberal (that means dictatorial) leader of that country, in the name of “freedom.”

If you define authoritarianism so it means freedom, and you do it in the name of freedom, then you end freedom. After 244 years of living in a free society, not a perfect society but one in which you usually don’t get sent to jail or executed for what you think, we seem unable to tell the difference between freedom and the lack of freedom. This is what happens when you say these things are just a matter of semantics. Semantics matter. Words stand for ideas. They may describe abstractions, but they are not squishy enough to allow us to set out to prove that a word is equal to its opposite; to define authoritarianism as freedom, or freedom as authoritarianism. 

It has been recent practice among Republicans, and especially Trump Republicans to use oxymorons and other logical fallacies to make things that free societies do to keep people safe and healthy (mandates) seem like authoritarian actions, and to make bullying and other authoritarian tactics into supposedly heroic acts of freedom fighters. Perhaps we need a national discussion about freedom because it looks like some authoritarianism has wandered into our democracy. This tendency is making us equate freedom with things like threatening people and using violence to get your freedom at the expense of the freedom of others. America was set up in such a way that citizens could revolt if democracy became monarchy, or by extension authoritarianism. Current upheavals are not about saving our democracy/republic. They are about forcing our country to accept one party’s policies without question or opposition. That’s not democracy; that’s not freedom.

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