OPINION

Republicans are the anti-freedom party

The Chronicle Express

A standard charge that the political right levels against those of us on the left is that we try to "impose our values" on them.

This is not true, of course. Our support for LGBTQ+ rights does not mean they must become gay or trans. Our support for religious plurality does not mean they must be less devoted to their own faith.  And, obviously, our support for the human right to an abortion does not mean they are required to get one. 

But when they oppose LGBTQ+ rights, they build walls around the choices I’m allowed to make about my own life. When they promote one religious tradition over others, they prevent other people from living their faiths fully.  And when they oppose abortion rights, they are preventing people who need or want to avail themselves of this critical medical procedure from accessing it.

Notably, regressive conservatives also try to get on school boards to find ways to prevent our kids from expressing themselves authentically and from learning about history as it truly happened. While the rest of us know that school is an important venue for young people to learn how to navigate diverse value systems, such operatives are desperate to impose their own private values on every other family — your liberties be damned.

It’s clear that conservatives are again projecting their own bad behavior onto the rest of us.  It’s clear that while the left says, "Follow your conscience, even if we argue about it," the right says, "Do it our way or else." This does not represent a commitment to freedom.

Rather, every assault by the right on the rest of us is very clearly an imposition of their values on us. The absolutely medieval reversal of the Roe v. Wade precedent by the conservative wing of the Supreme Court is only the latest and most egregious example.

The right, for all their talk of liberty, is obsessed with limiting freedoms for people who don't think or live like them.  True, they often justify their efforts to curtail liberty at the federal level by claiming that it is more appropriate to legislate these issues in the states, where the process is “closer to the people.” 

But across the country, Republicans are making it harder for people unlike themselves to express their will on rights issues by pushing what the Brennan Center for Justice describes as a “tidal wave” of voter suppression laws. Liberals and progressives want more people to vote, even though it doesn’t always benefit us. Which position is more democratic, more American? And which reflects a noxious principle of party and power over country?

I hope that the unaffiliated and undecided voters of this community remember these truths when considering the choices in future elections. I hope they remember which of our two major political parties really wants to protect their liberty, and which wants to control them.

Alex Andrasik

Penn Yan