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Freedom’s just another word for I’m pretty much an idiot

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I was about to walk into a Whole Foods just outside Boulder this weekend when I noticed the t-shirt of a woman loading groceries into her truck. I couldn’t quite make it out, so I waited ever so discreetly for her to return her shopping cart so I could get a better look. I guess I wasn’t that discreet, because she caught my eye and gave me a thumb’s up sign of solidarity. On the back of the t-shirt was this message:

AMERICA

A Land that Gave Up Its Freedom

To fight a disease with a

99.7% Survival Rate

This reminded me that I’ve been pondering lately what the word “freedom” means to the American right wing. I mean this is pretty much the key concept for them: America is the land of freedom, or used to be, until freedom was canceled by Critical Race Theory.

The funny/not funny thing about their reaction to COVID pandemic restrictions is that those restrictions were never more than the mildest sort of response to a virus that is probably going to end up killing upwards of a million people in this country before it finally fades away. All the talk about lifting the lockdown overlooks the fact that we never had anything like an actual lockdown. What we had were very loosely enforced requirements to do things like wear masks in public places.

But to people who have the emotional development of cranky toddlers, those mild restrictions amounted to taking away their Freedom, which is the most important thing in the world.

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