We hear a lot about “freedom” here in Idaho. Certain elements are SO SURE that the big bad federal government will tell them what to do that they pass all sorts of laws designed to tell the rest of us how to live.
I’ve been pondering the nature of freedom lately. What does it mean?
Is it the ability to read what you want—and choose books for your children? Or is it a small number of parents, unable to take personal responsibility for what they and their families access, removing books from the library?
What about making choices about who you love? Is freedom being able to marry your chosen adult partner, or is it someone else making laws restricting your ability to claim the tax benefits that other married couples enjoy?
How about reproductive health? Should you be able to access safe and affordable birth control to choose when you become a parent? Or, next session, should we expect the state legislature to tell us we can’t use certain types of birth control?
Speaking of reproductive health, is it true freedom when your hospital no longer delivers babies? All because Idaho politicians have decided to practice medicine and want to prosecute anyone who dares perform an emergency room abortion to save a mother’s life. Does depriving her other children of a loving mother count as freedom?
We have a situation where healthcare providers are leaving the state. Young people talk openly about taking their talents elsewhere because they know they won’t be appreciated here.
A minority of parents are trying to control what other people’s children read. Extremists are attempting to tell you what you’re allowed to do with your body and who you’re allowed to love.
It might be freedom for a few, but it doesn’t look like freedom for the rest of us.
When our founders declared independence, they wrote that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were “inalienable rights.”
In Idaho, though, those rights have limits. Apparently, one parent taking offense at a book like “Abuela” is grounds to remove it from a library, preventing everyone else’s kids from reading about a child who spends a day with their grandma. (It’s true. On the list of books a local extremist group wants to be removed from the library is one about spending the day with grandma.)
If these extremists have their way, they would prevent you from the pursuit of happiness by living in a body you feel comfortable with. They would also take away your choice about when to have a child and prosecute you for a health emergency.
I don’t know about you, but a lot of the things being pushed by a vocal minority right now sure don’t seem like freedom to me.
Miranda Marquit, Master of Business Administration, is a nationally recognized financial expert, speaker and writer. She is the chair of Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.