This is far from a novel observation, but we have strange definitions of words like “freedom” and “life” in public discourse. Freedom is somehow having the right to carry an AR-15 into a school but not to avoid having a police officer manhandle or arrest your child for a routine discipline matter, because that’s for their “safety”. Freedom is forbidding a library from hosting children for Pride Story Time, but not from having members of the Sheriff’s departmentescort Proud Boys into said library to scream obscenities and terrify the children.
It gets even more strange when we consider “freedom” and “life” together. If life begins at conception, it seems to end at birth, because for any living, breathing person in the United States, there is absolutely no right to life. There is no right to food, water, baby formula, clothing, electricity, or housing. We know about the last one, because money is being requested here every week for services needed by people who don’t have a home, and residents of Spanish Cove Townhomes appear not to have a right to stay in their home whether they are paying rent or not.
As it is looking like community spread of COVID-19 will likely be even worse this year than last year, we certainly have no right to protection from the government from death and disability caused by a viral pandemic over two years into its onset. As of a few months ago, uninsured people in our community have no right to have life-saving treatment for COVID-19 covered by the federal government, and this applies to vaccines and tests. But we do have freedom. Freedom to choose to risk exposure to said virus for $10 an hour at White Castle or to face homelessness and starvation just to make sure wages don’t get too high. Freedom is to not have a say in how the sliders are made 40 hours a week. Certainly we have no right to transport to said job, but we have freedom to pay high gas costs for the cars we have to buy and insure ourselves. Make no mistake. If a person can be forced by the government to carry a pregnancy and forced to birth, that person has no freedom. It seems like we’re past talking about exemptions for rape or incest, but if you’ve ever had to prove your need to the state of Missouri, you know that is not a timely process. But we can rest assured that armed police can arrest this person on criminal suspicion for having a miscarriage, while this same officer (via Castle Rock v. Gonzales) has no legal obligation, or evidently, the inclination, to intervene if that person is targeted for violence. That right belongs to property alone.
So here’s a challenge. Let’s prove we really are “pro-life” by taking responsibility for the health and well-being of our own communities and give our people more freedom to control and enjoy the neighborhoods they live in than real estate speculators and luxury apartment developers. Only then, we can say we are free to live.