This article is a bit long, but informative…
No, medical bankruptcy is not freedom.
Below are 10 examples of the far right using liberal-influenced rhetoric or terminology to promote destructive policies.
1. “Right to Work” Laws
Proponents of so-called “right to work laws,” which are especially common in Republican-dominated southern states, will claim that such laws are doing workers a favor by “liberating” them from the demands of labor unions. Southern Republicans tout “right to work” laws as a gift to the working class, insisting that collective bargaining is an impediment to one’s ability to be gainfully employed. But as the AFL-CIO and other labor unions have asserted, such laws just give the right to work for less, resulting in lower pay, inferior benefits and bad working conditions. According to the AFL-CIO, median household income in states with right to work laws is $6,437 less per year than in states that are more union-friendly—and in right to work states, only 50.7% of employers offer their employees health insurance compared to 55.2% in states that don’t have such laws. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that the number of deaths in the workplace is 36% higher in right to work states than in union-friendly states.
2. So-Called “Restorative Therapy” For Gays
The Christian Right has been aggressively promoting so-called “restorative therapy” for gays, insisting that homosexuality can be cured with a big dose of Christian fundamentalism. Terms like restorative therapy and reparative therapy have a new age-like ring to them. In Texas—where Republican Gov. Rick Perry has compared homosexuality to alcoholism—such “therapy” is officially endorsed in the state’s Republican Party platform. But Texas Republicans aren’t doing gays any favor by promoting restorative therapy, which doesn’t work—and John Paulk (who, in the 1990s, became the far right’s poster child for turning gay men straight) has come out against it. Paulk now says what many gay activists have been saying all along: homosexuality is not a choice, but a sexual orientation one is born with, and restorative therapy is an abusive practice, especially when imposed on teenagers.
3. Generation Opportunity: Equating Medical Bankruptcy with “Self-Determination” and “Freedom”
Receiving huge donations from oligarchs Charles and David Koch and having strong ties to the Tea Party, the Virginia-based Generation Opportunity (or GenOpp for short) bills itself as a “nonprofit Millennial advocacy organization.” One of its main targets has been the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. GenOpp, using rhetoric like “self-determination” and “free the future,” has been holding youth-oriented rallies urging Millennials to sign a pledge to “opt out” of Obamacare exchanges. But what GenOpp calls “self-determination” or “freedom” could lead to medical bankruptcy for Millennials. Healthcare reform activists have been quite critical of GenOpp’s irresponsible “Opt Out of Obamacare” campaign. In 2013, Ethan Rome (executive director of Health Care for America Now) asserted that it was“seriously unconscionable” for GenOpp to urge Millennials to make a point of being uninsured and stressed that suffering a major illness or accident while uninsured could result in Millennials being “buried by bills and unable to recover for the rest of their lives.” To GenOpp and their friends at Koch Industries and the Tea Party, medical bankruptcy is “freedom”; to sane people, it’s a cruel and frightening hardship.
4. Social Security “Reform”: Butchering Social Security in the Name of “Prosperity”
When Republicans and the Tea Party speak of “social security reform,” they insist they have the best interests of senior citizens at heart and want to make sure they enjoy a comfortable retirement. “Reforming” social security was part of the so-called “path to prosperity budget” for 2015 that Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposed earlier this year, but Ryan’s potentially disastrous ideas for social security would be more like a path to poverty for seniors. Ryan would like to gut social security: his ideas have included allowing workers under 55 to invest large portions of their social security taxes in the stock market (a terrible idea in light of how badly Wall Street and the banking sector crashed in September 2008) and—according to estimates from the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities—cutting benefits by about 40% for workers making $43,000 a year and about 50% for workers making $70,000 a year. There was a time when some prominent Republicans (including President Dwight D. Eisenhower) recognized social security as a valuable element of the New Deal, but these days, Ryan and other Tea Party favorites speak of “reforming” social security when in truth, they want to butcher it.
5. So-Called “Pro-Life Feminism”
Founded in 1972, Feminists for Life of America is the leader of the so-called “feminist pro-life” movement—which claims that it is “empowering” women by fighting to deny them access to safe and legal abortions. The organization is big on pseudo-feminist rhetoric, often invoking the name of Susan B. Anthony and saying it employs “holistic, woman-centered solutions” when addressing unplanned pregnancies. But even though Feminists for Life of America calls itself nonpartisan, it has never been shy about associating with or endorsing the Christian Right. One of its outspoken members is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom the organization haspraisedfor her “pro-life feminist” views. And the former head of its California chapter is none other than long-time Republican Party activist Susan Carpenter-McMillan.
6. Christian Fundamentalists Promoting “Great Sex”
The Christian Right has a long history of being anti-sex, from opposing real sex education (choosing instead to support failed abstinence-only programs) to opposing birth control. But some Christian fundamentalists have tried to counter that puritanical image by insisting they want you to have wild, explosive sex. For example, 1Flesh describes itself as “a grassroots movement dedicated to bringing great sex to the entire universe.” But it is actually a far-right Christian fundamentalist site that opposes contraception. Similarly, christiannymphos.org is a website that addresses a wide range of sexual topics yet opposes any type of sex outside of marriage. These websites underscore the fact that when Christian fundamentalists try to sound liberal or progressive, they often end up showing how socially conservative they are.
7. The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011
It isn’t uncommon for far-right Republicans to invoke the names of civil rights figures when they are pushing oppressive ideas. A perfect example was the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2011. When Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona proposed the bill, he claimed that it was designed to prevent the epidemic of “race-selection abortions” and “gender-selection abortions” (an “epidemic” that doesn’t exist). But Franks’ attempt to sound like the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women all rolled into one fell painfully flat because it was obvious he wasn’t motivated by concern for women or African Americans—he was pandering to white anti-abortion zealots of the far right. Unafraid to call Franks out, Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan told him, “I’ve studied Frederick Douglass more than you, and I’ve never heard or read about him saying anything about prenatal non-discrimination.”
8. So-Called “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”
Although the Christian Right will never admit it, Planned Parenthood actually reduces the number of abortions in the United States by providing contraception for women. But instead of preventing unwanted pregnancies by supporting Planned Parenthood, easy access to contraception and comprehensive sex education programs, the Christian Right would rather deny women access to abortions when unwanted pregnancies occur. A common tactic among far-right Christian fundamentalists is pretending to be an abortion clinic or offer pregnancy counseling: once women are lured into those so-called pregnancy crisis centers with warm, fuzzy language, they are bombarded with militant anti-choice rhetoric from the same zealots who oppose contraception. And even if the pregnancy is the result of rape, many of these Christian fundamentalist “clinics” still try to shame and bully women into not having abortions.
9. Allen West and the Modern-Day “Underground Railroad”
When Republicans and the Tea Party try to sell wingnut ideas to African Americans, one of their tactics is mentioning civil rights leaders of the past. Former Florida Rep. Allen West, for example, has described himself as a “modern-day Harriet Tubman” whose mission is to “lead people on the Underground Railroad” away from the Democratic Party and into the loving arms of the GOP and the Tea Party. West likes to paint himself as a friend of the oppressed and the downtrodden, but his positions—disdain for unions and healthcare reform, trying to butcher the social safety net, opposition to raising the minimum wage—demonstrate that he is anything but.
10. Mike Huckabee’s Idea of Female “Empowerment”
When President Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asserted that the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket lost because Republicans’ rhetoric was too harsh. There was nothing wrong with the GOP message, Huckabee claimed—only in the way they presented it. Huckabee has long been a master of trying to make extreme Christian fundamentalism seem warm and caring. But this year, Huckabee showed his true colors when an awkward, clumsy attempt at preaching female “empowerment” ended up sounding contemptuous of women. Opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate, Huckabee insisted: “Republicans don’t have a war on women. We’re having a war for women—to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.” Huckabee went on to say, “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.” Huckabee, in essence, echoed Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that women are sluts if they want health insurance to cover birth control pills. So much for Republicans softening their rhetoric.