To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Observercast

Our Fragile Freedoms

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A convoy of trucks, vans, and pickups has taken the ultimate road trip across the United States, not to see the grand views or learn the history of the country but to protest vaccine mandates and masks. As they party across the country, it’s clear that they are out of touch with the sense of urgency that the rest of us are feeling right now.

Here are a few things I’d like to tell them, if only they’d listen:

1 .You have every right to protest.

2. You have the right to refuse the vaccine, but it comes with costs, including the greater likelihood that you or someone you love might die.

3. Maybe you haven’t heard that masks mandates are ending, that the rest of the world is more concerned about the possibility of a third World War, and that we don’t really have time for your bull right now.

Freedom, in your mouths, is just a word. While you cruise I-95 looking for attention, protestors in Russia and Belarus and Myanmar and Hong Kong, etc. etc., are arrested, jailed, beaten, and, in some cases, shot. Here, no one is denying you the right to tie up traffic or show your ignorance of vaccine science. That’s freedom!

As Russia seeks to destroy the democracy on its border, its president has shut down non-government sources of information. Except for a few tech-savvy people, Russians hear only the official government line. Here, you have the right to swallow all the misinformation you can stomach, but truth is accessible. That’s a distorted type of freedom, but freedom all the same.

Meanwhile, the party most of you support is trying to curb the freedom to vote for many Americans. In school districts across the country, parents and politicians are trying to dictate what history students can learn and what books they’ll be allowed to read.

Voting rights, universal education, and critical thinking are essential if we will keep this country free, and these freedoms are in danger.

You have the right to worship, or not. You have the right to criticize lawmakers. You have the right to peaceably assemble and make your grievances known.

When voting becomes restricted, your right to vote may be next. When the right to speak up is taken, it will be your voices and not just those of people with whom you disagree. When your politicians get to decide what we learn and what news we get, none of us will be free. That includes you.