Gary Horton | American Freedom Is on the Line

Gary Horton
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These days, it seems a funny if not even a quaint thing that Republicans continue to parrot the narrative that progressives and Democrats are really commie pinkos, certain to overthrow democracy and enslave America with Marxism and take away all our “freedoms.”  

Democrats, taking away your American freedoms: The notion is almost hysterical in the wake of Donald J. Trump literally pulling out all stops to overthrow an honest election and negate the legal voice of the people. Seventy-plus frivolous lawsuits, endless lies, and wow, even an assault and riot on the House of the People and you’ve got the real bandits exposed, doing everything they can to take away your voting freedoms. 

Yes, they truly did try to strip your vote. Rip it off. Steal a perfectly legal, confirmed, audited election. And, with all the “election reforms” in red Trump states, they’re working to make sure they get the dirty deed done, come mid-terms and beyond. 

Voting restriction laws: Cast as “reforms to protect the sacred vote,” multiple states like Texas have now gone as far as to criminalize the distribution of mail-in ballot APPLICATIONS. Not content to intimidate voters with new laws legalizing enhanced, potentially intimidating poll water behaviors and reducing actual voting hours, they’re also criminalizing any government action to “get out the vote” or more easily empower citizens to vote the way that works for their lives.  

Such actions, in intent, specifically target generally minority counties that usually vote Democratic. But these restrictions also hurt all voters, making voting less convenient for lower-income and lesser-mobility voters everywhere. These types of changes are racist and classist, and in intent are targeted to keep the old dying-off Republicans in power, against the tide of otherwise rapidly changing demographics. 

Attempting to overturn elections and reducing citizens’ ability to vote: This is what national Republicans have done, in truth, right before our eyes. Squeezing the life out of democracy to replace it with some sort of Trumpist-led power cult, protected by intense gerrymandering and arcane voting laws. 

So, who’s taking away your freedoms? 

Texas, along with most other red states, has also just passed hyper-restrictive abortion laws. And while no one wants or wishes an abortion — for a litany of personal reasons — the right to legal and safe abortion continues to be overwhelmingly popular with most women, nationwide. The reason could be rape. Incest. Disease. Poverty. Medically required intervention. Yet, these new laws remove virtually all rights to abortion, regardless of reason or situation. Here, we see old Republican men literally stealing the rights of female Americans. A year ago, all these women had these rights. Today, they don’t.  

Our rights are being rolled back, right before our eyes. And say, “Who’s stealing your freedoms?” 

And rolling back and attempting to roll back environmental protection laws – which protect you and me from polluted water and poisonous air. These old Republican folks would steal your rights to clean water, land and air – to give polluters increased rights to… pollute. So, who’s stealing your “freedoms?” The freedom to enjoy clean air and water seems basic, yet it is at risk. 

And yes, everything is bigger in Texas, including gun culture, and in Texas an adult can walk into a gun shop, buy a gun or high-power rifle, and wave it around in public and these old Republican guys will tell you they’re protecting our “sacred” Second Amendment rights. But what of our right to feel safe and not intimidated? What of our right to walk around in major cities, without having lethal weapons constantly displayed or used to provoke and intimidate?  

The world is laughing at us, at the thought of mass open carry in our otherwise world-class cities.  

If elected, Republican Larry Elder has said he’d like to eliminate the California minimum wage. Finally achieved after years of struggle, lower-income working-class Californians are now afforded a basic, working wage that helps keep people and families healthy and reduces need for government assistance. Mr. Elder, catering to the “tear-it-all-down” mentality of the Trumpist Republicans, would strip the living wage protections from millions of working-class Californians. 

And who is trying to steal your “freedoms?” 

Republicanism has changed in the Trump Red states from the old school of economic conservatism to a radicalized play to the old Trump base and tear down everything required to regain and retain power. It’s truly frightening – and what we see playing out now in red states will become shared national nightmares should Republicans again gain national power. Truly, at times red-state Republicans sound interchangeable with the Taliban. 

Should these Trumpist Republicans take national power, the veracity of your vote, the independence of your choices, and even your basic human rights, will all be up for grabs.  

Most all of us can agree on the need for rule of law. We must also demand and uphold our promised American rights, while crafting our laws. Thus, we must resist all who would further reduce our freedom with their creeping authoritarianism. 

For California, this struggle is in the here and now, as we must defeat the anti-democratic attempt to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom – or face a potential replacement with the “tear-it-all-down” Trumpist agenda. 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board

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