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Robert Reich: What Is Freedom, Really? – OpEd

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Republicans love to claim they’re the party of freedom. Bulls**t. 

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In reality, the Republican agenda centers on taking away freedom.

They’re chipping away your freedom to choose when, how, and with whom you start a family by passing ever more restrictive abortion bans.

They’re chipping away the freedom to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. 

Many are chipping away the freedom of trans people to receive life-saving, gender-affirming care.

Many are chipping away students’ freedom to learn about America’s history of racism and discrimination. 

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They’re also chipping away at the most fundamental freedom of all: the right to vote – restricting everything from mail-in voting to ballot dropboxes.

But their chipping away at freedom is even bigger than all this.

Can you really be free if you’re saddled with medical debt and have to routinely pay outrageous health care costs?

Can you really be free if you have no voice in your workplace and your employer refuses to let you organize with your coworkers for the right to collectively bargain?

Can you really be free if you’re not paid a living wage and have to choose between feeding your family or keeping your lights on?

A living wage, the right to join a union, guaranteed healthcare, the right to vote – these are the foundations of real freedom. 

Yet Republicans oppose all of these. 

There’s a reason the historic 1963 rally was called The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Because freedom also means the ability to work in a job that pays enough to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.

What Republicans want to preserve isn’t freedom, it’s power. The power to impose their narrow ideology on everyone else, no matter who suffers. Don’t let their propaganda convince you otherwise.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at robertreich.substack.com. Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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